Sexually transmitted diseases, also referred to as venereal diseases, are infections transmitted through sexual contact and are caused by viruses, bacteria, and parasites. These infections usually do not show any symptoms. Medically, when symptoms are diagnosed through various tests, a patient is said to be suffering from sexually transmitted disease or STD. Apart from sexual contact, STDs can in some cases also be transmitted through childbirth, breastfeeding, and shared usage of needles. Gonorrhea, HIV, HPV, chlamydia, and syphilis are the common types of STDs. According to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014, there has been an increase in the reported cases of STDs across the U.S. for the first time since 2006.
Rise in incidences of unprotected sex has led to an increase in the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, thereby propelling the demand from the global sexually transmitted disease testing market. STD testing is usually advised by physicians even if a person does not show symptoms but has had unprotected sex. There are various types of STD diagnostics available in the market such as viral load monitoring, genotyping, immunoassays, and molecular diagnostic.
Lack of awareness about sexually transmitted diseases and the rising incidences of unprotected sex have majorly contributed to the growing prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases. The global sexually transmitted disease testing market has been boosted by the high number of patients suffering from STDs, especially in the age group of 15 years to 24 years. In fact, this age group is the most vulnerable to STDs even though it is relatively a small portion of the sexually active population.
Recommendations from various regulatory authorities for annual STD screening for sexually active men and women are expected to further fuel the demand for STD testing. STD screening services are now widely covered under health care services and are likely to augment the growth of the global STD testing market. For example, plans under the U.S. Affordable Care Act offer coverage for recommended STD screening services without cost-sharing. Regulatory authorities such as the World Health Organization have outlined strategies for the prevention and control of STDs. Research activities are being carried out to understand the growing prevalence of STDs, particularly Syphilis, among gay and bisexual men. All of these factors are anticipated to drive the growth of the global sexually transmitted diseases testing market.
The global sexually transmitted disease testing market has been segmented into four key regions: Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, and Rest of the World. In North America, a reported rise in the number of people affected with STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis has fuelled the demand for sexually transmitted disease testing. Favorable government policies are also expected to boost the demand from the regional market. Recently, the outbreak of Zika virus and the possibility of the transmission of Zika virus through sexual contact have led authorities in countries in Africa and South America to recommend Zika virus testing.
Prominent players in the global sexually transmitted disease testing market include Bayer AG, Merck and Company Inc., Abbott Laboratories, and Home Access Health Inc.
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