For the first time in Guyana, persons can now access diagnostic testing for the 12 most common Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) through Eureka Medical Laboratory’s (EML) enhanced detection panel.
With its scientifically updated technology, EML will use Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing to identify the presence of DNA associated with organisms that cause STDs. DNA is a complex molecule containing information that is unique to each organism.
Previously, only screening was offered at EML, using rapid tests that detected either chlamydia or gonorrhoea, but these require an additional confirmatory test to be done to verify a positive or negative result.
EML’s STD PCR testing will no longer necessitate persons undergoing both a screening and confirmatory test, particularly if their physician suspects an STD but may be uncertain of the cause.
EML’s Microbiology and Virology Laboratory Manager, Paul Cheddie, said, “The PCR method being introduced is a high sensitivity, high specificity assay that can detect the DNA of the 12 common organisms associated with STIs/STDs, which dramatically reduces the likelihood of a missed diagnosis.”
He further explained that in most sexually transmitted infection cases, the infected person shows no symptoms and may produce culture-negative results due to the insufficient number of organisms present in the genital tract. However, with this STD PCR diagnostic test, definitive results are guaranteed for more organisms in less time. As such, EML is the first medical laboratory in Guyana to offer an STD test of this kind.
The STD PCR test detects bacteria associated with chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and bacterial vaginosis, as well as the causative agents of herpes, syphilis, yeast infections, and non-gonococcal urethritis.
Meanwhile, EML has also introduced a qualitative real-time PCR test to detect high-risk Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infections.
“It is intended to identify DNA from 14 high-risk HPV types, as well as two main HPV types – HPV 16 & 18, from cervical samples”, Cheddie explained.
According to Cheddie, the turnaround time for these PCR tests is 24-48 hours and can be accessed by men and women.
EML’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Boyle, noted that these new services offered at the lab signify a significant development for the medical landscape in Guyana. He said EML is happy to be able to build on existing PCR infrastructure, to expand the availability of healthcare services here.
The CEO said EML is committed to developing the medical sector in Guyana through new and innovative technologies.
Both the STI and HPV panels are currently available at Eureka Lab branches countrywide.