Introduction Conventional care packages around screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) entail multiple clinic visits and precipitate losses to follow-up. To prevent these losses, multiplexed technologies for STIs (immunochromatographic tests/devices/assays and molecular assays that can screen multiple pathogens or multiple strains of one STI) can yield same-day results in a single visit. Research evidence of patient-centred (preference, satisfaction) and clinical health outcomes (feasibility, case positivity, uptake, impact) has not been synthesised. We conducted a systematic review to fill this gap. Methods For the period 2009-2020, two independent reviewers searched PubMed and Embase, retrieved 4440 citations and abstracted data from 42 relevant studies. Results Of 42 studies, 10 (23.8%) evaluated multiplexed immunochromatographic and 32 (76.2%) molecular assays. Outcomes were reported as follows: preference (n=3), satisfaction (n=2), uptake (n=1), feasibility (n=2), case positivity (n=42) and impact (n=11). Screened populations included various at-risk groups. A majority (86.1%-92.4%) of participants preferred (60.2%-97.2%) multiplexed technologies (over conventional testing). Compared with conventional lab-based testing, test uptake improved by 99.4% (hepatitis C), 99.6% (Trichomonas vaginalis), 78.6% (hepatitis B) and 42.0% (HIV). Varying case positivities were documented depending on populations screened: HIV (1.8%-29.3%), hepatitis B (1.1%-23.9%), hepatitis C (0.5%-42.2%), Chlamydia trachomatis (2.8%-30.2%), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (0.0%-30.3%) and T. vaginalis (0.0%-32.7%). Regarding impact, 70.0%-100.0% of screened participants were linked to care, with result turnaround times ranging from 14 min (immunochromatographic assays) to 300 min (molecular assays). Conclusions Compared with conventional lab-based testing, rapid multiplexed technologies were preferred by testees and led to quicker turnaround times for many STIs yielding same-day results thereby allowing to initiate rapid linkages to care. They were further shown to be highly feasible and impactful for detection and treatment facilitation. Based on these promising results, multiplexed technologies offer potential to screen at-risk populations to reduce onward STI transmission worldwide.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health