Sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs) are the most commonly reported infectious conditions in the U.S. The majority of these infections are easy to detect and treat but their rates continue to rise to epidemic proportions. In fact, this fall the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported increases in chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis for the fifth year in a row. While the cause of the rising rates is multifaceted, part of the problem stems from high rates of patient loss to follow up and insufficient screening rates. binx health has been working to find better solutions that deliver more immediate care through improved STI diagnostics.
The Current State of STI Diagnostics
Today, generally speaking, patient samples are collected in clinics and then sent to central labs which return results to the patient days or sometimes weeks later. During this delay, clinicians may lose contact with the patient, making results reporting impossible.
Even those who are contacted with positive results often do not return for treatment, resulting in poor or no treatment compliance. In fact, published data show as many as 60% of patients are completely lost to follow up and nearly half of patients who are notified of a positive test result may not return for treatment. The time between testing and result reporting also allows for continued onward transmission of infection as well as the development of serious co-morbidities associated with untreated infection such as increased risk of acquiring HIV, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and certain types of cancer.
This high risk associated with the delay in treatment motivates clinicians to empirically treat symptomatic patients with antibiotics. However, studies also show that empiric treatment of patients presenting with symptoms is often inappropriate. In fact, in a recent multi-center study of the binx point-of-care platform, only half of patients presenting with symptoms actually had an infection and, without the benefit of a rapid test-and-treat diagnostic system, may likely have received unnecessary and inappropriate empiric treatment. This standard of care is extremely costly to the health system leading to unnecessary antibiotic exposure in patients, added cost to providers, and growing antibiotic resistance.
The WHO has stated that “a major barrier to STIs control and prevention is the unavailability of reliable, low-cost, point-of-care tests (POCTs) which allow diagnosis and treatment in a single visit.” Similarly, the recently published ‘Recommendations for Providing Quality Sexually Transmitted Diseases Clinical Services. 2020’ CDC MMWR report noted that “timely and appropriate treatment of persons with STDs is critical” and furthermore, “same-day treatment…is also critical for STD prevention.” These major health organizations are illuminating the immediate need for a rapid assay that would allow clinicians to test-and-treat patients in the same visit.
Rapid and Accurate In-Clinic Testing
binx io does just that: it is the world’s first, FDA-cleared, molecular point-of-care test for the detection of chlamydia (CT) and gonorrhea (NG) in vaginal swabs that generates results, with accuracy equivalent to central lab testing, in about 30 minutes. The io is designed to enable test-to-treatment in a single visit, allowing treatment of a greater number of positive patients more accurately while preventing over-treatment in symptomatic but CT/NG negative patients. Not only does the io enable same-day test-and-treat, but it also brings testing into the clinic. The io is designed to be run by any office staff, requires no sample preparation, calibration, or preventive maintenance, and displays results clearly with no need for results interpretation. Because of its small desktop footprint and ease of use, it can generate new revenue streams for the clinic and bring rapid and accurate testing closer to the patient.
Private and Discreet At-Home Testing
Though improving in-clinic STI diagnostics is a core component of the binx mission, the company’s reach extends far beyond the clinic walls. Currently, only about 12% of young people, who account for half of the new STD diagnoses each year, are getting screened for STIs in traditional settings. Even young women are only getting screened according to CDC guidelines less than half the time. About a third of the LGBT community, one that often carries much of the STD burden, avoids preventative screening all together. With the large majority of STIs being asymptomatic but potentially leading to harmful comorbidities if left untreated, screening is especially important. Nonetheless, due to lack of education, inconvenience, stigma, and other barriers, people are not accessing the screening they need.
In order to reach this unscreened and untreated population, binx created a convenient and discreet at-home testing solution for those unable or unwilling to come into the clinic. With binx at-home testing patients can take a confidential, medically guided risk assessment to determine which test may be most appropriate for them, and order their test online. They collect their samples wherever and whenever they’d like, and learn their results in just a few days. Patients who test positive will receive a prescription, if appropriate, or be connected to in-person care. With the average clinician appointment costing patients two hours and $43 of lost wages, at-home testing can save patients time and money.
Underlying both the io and at-home testing is binx’ integration with partner clinicians including tools to drive engagement and maintain clinical oversight. With binx clinician resources, your in-clinic staff can leverage convenient at-home tests and educate patients about STI prevention. The clinician portal is designed to allow you to identify and reach unscreened populations local communities, and unlock better public health outcomes through leveraging data.
binx is pioneering solutions that address the key barriers to STI screening and treatment. The binx ecosystem consists of rapid point-of-care testing, at-home screening, and an integrated set of clinician tools that equip you to improve the sexual health of your patients and curb the rising STI rates. With binx as a partner, you can ensure that care reaches the right patients.
Interested in incorporating new testing paradigms into your clinic? Click here for more information on how you can integrate these solutions into your practice.