What are the disadvantages of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) in the diagnosis of chlamydial genitourinary infections (chlamydia)?

Updated: Sep 25, 2018
  • Author: Shahab Qureshi, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Although NAATs are sensitive, numerous disadvantages have been discussed. The first is that they are expensive and thus may not be affordable by health departments for comprehensive screening. [45] Another disadvantage is that the FDA-approved NAATs cannot distinguish LGV from non-LGV strains, which is important because the duration of treatment is longer for LGV infections. In addition, NAATs detect chlamydial DNA or RNA rather than live organisms, and positive NAAT results are not uncommon 3 weeks after completion of antibiotic therapy. [46] Thus, NAATs should not be used as a test-of-cure assay, except in pregnant women in whom it is justified to document cure at 3-4 weeks after completion of therapy in an effort to prevent infection in the infant. [40]


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