Global Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are also known as Venereal diseases (VDs) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). The market for diagnostic testing of STDs was valued at $96.7 billion in 2013. The diagnostic testing of STDs is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8.5% over the forecast period 2014-2020 to reach market size of $167.4 billion in 2020. It is estimated by the American Journal of Medicine that more than half of the population will have an STD/STI at some point in their lifetime. Each year, one in four teens contracts an STD/STI according to the American Journal of Public Health.

Key facts

  • More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide.
  • Each year, there are an estimated 357 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis.
  • More than 500 million people are estimated to have genital infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV).
  • More than 290 million women have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
  • The majority of STIs have no symptoms or only mild symptoms that may not be recognized as an STI.
  • STIs such as HSV type 2 and syphilis can increase the risk of HIV acquisition.
  • In some cases, STIs can have serious reproductive health consequences beyond the immediate impact of the infection itself (e.g., infertility or mother-to-child transmission).
  • Drug resistance, especially for gonorrhoea, is a major threat to reducing the impact of STIs worldwide.

In today’s social environment STDs often go unnoticed, or lie dormant, for many years and hence untreated, which can give rise to harmful consequences. In 2011-2012 the NHS budgeted almost £129m for sexual health testing. That is £2.00 per person in the UK alone. Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea are the two most prominent infections. Taking Chlamydia in isolation, between April and September 2011 almost 1 million tests were carried out at a cost of £56 per test. The 2011-12 targets were to carry out 2.3 million tests. The St George’s Healthcare Trust performs at least 150.000 of these each year.

A variety of methods have been employed for the diagnosis of STDs that differ based upon the technology available and or the cost. Rising incidences of STDs, with the corresponding higheconomic burden and consequent implementation of Provider-Initiated Counselling and Testing (PICT) and Client-Initiated Counselling and Testing (CICT) drive the growth of STD testing market (obviously the ease of use of the testing protocol plays a large role in adoption and implementation).

At present no Nucleic Acid Amplification Technology Test (NAAT) meets the needs of Developing Economies testing where infrastructure provisions such as labs, equipment supplies and the lack of trained laboratory personnel in secluded geographic locations is scarce. For example, West African countries and the stigma associated with voluntary testing are likely to be the major restraints of the market. However, global initiatives along with development in healthcare infrastructure will provide a future growth thrust for the market. The global market for diagnostic testing of STDs is segmented based on type:

Infection Diagnosis method

  • Chlamydia (antibody testing or NAAT)
  • Gonorrhoea (antibody or NAAT)
  • Syphilis (antibody or NAAT) observation
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (antibody or NAAT)
  • Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) (antibody or NAAT)
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) (antibody or NAAT)
  • Cancroid (observation or antibody)
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) (antibody or NAAT)

NAAT – Nucleic acid amplification technology

The market is segmented in to large-scale centralized laboratories, which will never be capable of offering a point-of-care (PoC) test. Effective PoC testing could only be of use in a clinic situation or a heavily supported home environment. Currently, laboratories perform the bulk of the tests and would continue to hold a larger share of the market, both in terms of volume and revenue. PoCs will grow at constant rate during the forecast period.

The market for STD testing devices was valued at $7.7 billion in 2013 with laboratory testing devices accounted for most of the market and PoC devices predicted to grow at a faster rate. Many healthcare institutions provide diagnostic testing services for STDs, such as specialized STD clinics, Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinics along with general hospitals, government laboratories and private diagnostic centres. Along with the testing service providers, many companies provide devices such as laboratory instruments and antibody POC testing.

STI Diagnostic Industry

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