Ina Park, MD, MS
California’s PTC Co- medical director, Dr. Ina Park, talk about the importance of syphilis diagnosis to Contagion Live.
Syphilis was once fairly common in Europe and America. Thanks to penicillin, rates of the formerly untreatable sexually transmitted disease dropped steeply through the early and middle part of the 20th century; they’ve largely stayed low save for a slight bump in cases in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Now, however, rates have begun to rise again, mostly in men who have sex with men.
Not only is it important that individuals at risk of contracting syphilis be tested regularly, it’s crucial to offer tests that perform effectively and to ensure that enough tests are performed to yield the most accurate results. To that end, there’s been a change in thinking about what the optimal testing regimen is.
Over the past decade, many laboratories have moved from using nontreponemal tests to treponemal immunoassays that can be automated. The advantage of this shift is a huge savings of time, and, by extension, money. “When we use a traditional algorithm, all those tests have to be manually pipetted,” Ina Park, MD, MS, associate professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and an author of a recent study comparing 7 different treponemal immunoassays, told Contagion®. “The number of assays that you can do with a treponemal immunoassay is more than 200 an hour.”
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