- Laboratory tests used to identify infectious
- Most precise method
- Requires substantial resources
- Treatment usually delayed
With this approach, laboratory tests identify the infectious
agent. If used correctly, the laboratory-based approach is the
most precise method for diagnosing and treating STDs. However,
this approach requires substantial resources. In developing
countries, laboratory tests are often not available at the primary
health care level, where the majority of patients seek care.
To use this approach, skilled technicians must be trained and
supervised. Generally, specialized and expensive equipment is
needed, along with reagents and other supplies for laboratory
tests. In addition, many laboratory tests require reliable electricity
and water supplies, which may not be available in many settings.
Researchers are trying to develop less expensive laboratory
With the laboratory-based approach, treatment is usually delayed
until test results are available. This may take several days.
Thus patients often must return for treatment. Those patients
unable to return to the clinic will not receive treatment.
Theoretically, this approach can be used to diagnose infection
in anyone, including those with no symptoms. In practice, however,
asymptomatic persons do not usually seek tests to determine
if they have an STD.