July 28 (HealthDay News) -- A simple urine test could help reduce men's risk of persistent chlamydia infection and the likelihood of transmitting it to their sex partners, U.K. researchers report.
Currently, chlamydia infection is diagnosed by nucleic acid amplification tests, such as the polymerase chain reaction. But these tests are expensive, technically complex and can take several days to get results, according to background information in a news release from BMJ, which published the study online July 28.
Previous research found that the urine test, called the Chlamydia Rapid Test, provided fast and accurate results in women. The new study compared the test to the polymerase chain reaction test using urine samples from more than 1,200 men, ages 16 to 73.
The rapid test had a high level of sensitivity (82.6 percent) and specificity (98.5 percent) and provided results within an hour. Quick availability of results means that male patients can be offered treatment while still at a clinic, the researchers said.
This kind of "test and treat" approach, they said, could help reduce the risks of persistent infection and chlamydia transmission.
Left untreated, chlamydia infection can cause serious complications in women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Recent research has suggested that untreated chlamydia infection in men can cause infertility.
SOURCE: BMJ, news release, July 28, 2009