STD testing is an important part of healthcare provision in Europe. Many nations are providing strong, sensitive screen methods in an accessible way. At the same time, some diseases seem to be on the rise with little sign of falling.
STD screening methods are vital for identifying diseases early and determining their scale across a country, or indeed the continent. The following six diseases are being screened and treated in Europe with varying levels of accuracy and accessibility.
STD & Medical Screening Tests Available In Europe
1. HIV/Aids Medical Screening Tests
HIV/Aids is still a priority in EU healthcare guidelines. The 2014-2020 action plan focuses on the need for screening and treatment as one of its main aims. HIV increased 80% worldwide from 2004 to 2012.
Cases in young people (below the age of 24) are falling, but they are increasing in 25-44-year-olds. The rate is also significantly higher in men than women. This is why education and accessibility of treatment are so important in Europe.
There are currently two widely-used STD testing methods for HIV identification. The EIA test looked at antigens in patient’s serum and views as an appealing option due to low costs and availability.
The Western Blot tests used in following a positive EIA test for confirmation. This is due to the 99.9% sensitivity rate. It is important that these screenings remain accessible and accurate to catch the disease quickly.
2. Gonorrhea Medical Screening Tests
Gonorrhoea is another area of STD testing in Europe that has seen some great improvements over the years. Rapid diagnostic testing has ensured that patients can receive a quick provisional diagnosis in the majority of symptomatic cases.
This is carried out through the testing of samples from urethral, cervical and rectal screening. Culture amplified antigen detection tests are providing a high sensitivity rate for accuracy in diagnoses.
Unlike many of the other diseases mentioned here, gonorrhoea appears to be more prevalent in the 14-24 age range. These cases may be due to the asymptomatic nature of the disease. Symptoms do not guarantee in all patients.
Those that do show symptoms may experience irregular menstrual bleeding, testicular pain or discharge from the genitals. The right healthcare provider will be able to identify these symptoms as potential signs of the disease and arrange for quick, discrete testing.
3. Chlamydia Medical Screening Tests
In some ways, chlamydia is one of the success stories for STD testing and screening in Europe. Recent advancements in testing processes have allowed for better options and greater accuracy.
Many of the preferred options for these screenings can provide a specificity rate higher than 99% and a sensitivity rate of 90%. The best option for this is Nucleic acid amplification (NAA).
The tests offered to patients will vary depending on the nation and their national guidelines. Most will prefer non-invasive options for testing urine.
This improved testing procedure is important because of the prevalence of the disease. Again, this is one of those STDs that tends to affect young adults. Most cases of Europe in 2014 examine the patients between the age of 20-24.
This is where the problem of chlamydia in Europe becomes clear. It is currently known as the most common STD in Europe with no right idea of case numbers across the member states. There are therefore calls for better regulation and improves the reporting to understand the scope of the issue better.
4. Syphilis Medical Screening Tests
Syphilis is an area of STD healthcare in the EU that needs regular monitoring and efforts. In 2013 all EU member states reported case report ratings below the target of the WHO.
This worldwide organization has set a goal for the elimination of congenital syphilis. In 2012, 20,769 cases were reported in European countries. This reflected an increase of 4.5% in the over 25s. The majority of these cases were seen in male patients.
These low numbers of case reports suggest that a lot more could be done to improve the situation. This is the case despite the range of screening methods in use across the continent. This is an area where healthcare providers in the EU need to increase efforts to ensure that needs are met. The same can be said for the following disease.
5. HPV Medical Screening Tests
European screening methods for HPV are evolving to ensure that practices are better able to deal with the issue. This means providing adequate screening as well as the right support for patients. HPV is a tricky issue for STD testing because there are more than 100 types. This means it can be tricky to pinpoint the precise problem and confusing for the individual.
EU guidelines recommend following a local procedure for the identification of warts and lesions in the genital areas. Identification should follow with evaluation and clearing. It is a simple genital exam, but it still requires care and patience. It is important to do so quickly to catch the virus before it spreads to other areas. 40 of these HPV strains can pass on through vaginal, anal or oral sex, in both men and women. Untreated it could lead to cancerous growths.
6. Herpes Medical Screening Tests
The terminal disease to look at here is Herpes. This is a disease that is also causing great concern when it comes to identification and screening. This is down to the fact that so many people have it without realizing and do not get themselves examine. This fear has since grown after links were made between genital herpes and it expands the risk of HIV infection. A WHO from 2008 states that Western Europe had the lowest rating for herpes diagnoses. The problem is that this could be simply because the cases were not being caught.
There has been a call for better regulation and screening options for herpes across Europe. Current tests are clearly not having the desired effect, and there is a need for greater sensitivity and specificity. It notes that these medical screening tests need to use in cases of recurrent genital ulceration and asymptomatic partners of herpes patients.