Performance and costs of a rapid syphilis test in an urban population at high risk for sexually transmitted infections


Introduction. Rapid syphilis screening could facilitate caseidentification in populations at high risk for sexually transmitted infections (STI). The aim of this study was to compare the performance and the cost-effectiveness of a rapid immunochromatography syphilis test with a traditional ELISA screening test in patients with suspected infectious syphilis or patients at high risk for STI/syphilis. Methods. Consecutive patients attending a STI clinic cosensually underwent serological testing with two different tests. Sensitivity, specificity, Positive Predictive Values, Negative Predictive Values and effectiveness of the two tests were evaluated with respect to definitive diagnosis. Results. In our population, the immunochromatography essay (Abbott Determine Syphilis TP) had a sensitivity of 95.0% (95% CI 88.7-97.8) and a specificity of 97.7% (95% CI 94.7-99.0). The ELISA test had a sensitivity of 95.0% (95% CI 88.8-97.9) and a specificity of 97.2% (95% CI 94.1-98.7). The Positive Predictive Value for ELISA was 94.1% (95% CI 87.6-97.3) and 95.0% (95% CI 88.7-97.8) for the rapid test. The Negative Predictive Value was 97.7% (95% CI 94.7-99) for both ELISA and the rapid tests. The cost-effectiveness analysis showed that the rapid test was less expensive than ELISA (? 26.46 vs ? 40.57) and yielded a similar number of right diagnoses. Conclusions. The Abbott Determine Syphilis TP test is an accurate, easy and inexpensive test that could facilitate the rapid detection of syphilis in high-risk urban patients.