Survey of sexually transmitted disease laboratory methods in u.S. army laboratories, 2012

Nicole K. Leamer, Nikki N. Jordan, Laura A. Pacha, Nabil H. Latif, Eric C. Garges, Joel C. Gaydos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) affect primarily young people (17–24 years). The U.S. Military, with many young people, strives to maintain effective STD treatment and prevention programs using current methods. Laboratory testing technology and capacity are important for appropriate clinical management and to provide data to direct prevention programs. STD laboratory capabilities are assessed in civilian and military laboratories using surveys. An Army laboratory survey was conducted in 2007. The Army laboratory survey reported here was conducted on 2012 to describe STD tests done, laboratory testing practices, and testing volume to include the use of human immunodeficiency virus point-of-care tests and a novel reverse syphilis testing algorithm. Materials and Methods: A web-based survey was offered to all 32 Army laboratories in 2013 to assess testing in 2012. Twenty-two laboratories (69%), including all medical center laboratories, completed the survey. The survey was approved by the U.S. Army Human Protection Review Board. Results: The Army laboratories reported testing more than 230,000 specimens for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG), with 82% and 86% using nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) methods for CT and NG, respectively. Eleven laboratories (50%) performed combined NAAT methods for CT and NG. Four (18%) performed NG antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Two (10%) screened for syphilis using the reverse algorithm. All offered in-house wet-mount microscopy for Trichomonas vaginalis. Thirteen (62%) used rapid human immunodeficiency virus testing. Conclusion: Comparing the 2012 results to the 2007 Army survey results, use of NAAT methods remained relatively stable while antimicrobial NG susceptibility testing decreased. Efforts to promote NAAT methods, to include testing vaginal and nongenital specimens for CT and NG, must continue. NG antibiotic resistance testing should be increased. Monitoring the use of the reverse syphilis screening algorithm is recommended to assess the impact of false-positive results.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1726
Pages (from-to)e1726-e1732
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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