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CHICAGO (Reuters) - A rapid urine test for chlamydia identified 84 percent of infections in men, offering a quick and painless way to diagnose the common sexually transmitted disease, British researchers said on Tuesday.
They said a study of the test among 1,200 men, published in the British Medical Journal, offers hope for on-the-spot treatment.
"This new test is both accurate and swift, allowing men attending the clinics to be tested and treated on site in one visit," Dr. Helen Lee from the University of Cambridge, who developed the test, said in a statement.
Lee is also president and chief executive of Diagnostics for the Real World in Sunnyvale, California, a university spin-off company that is commercializing the test.
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease among women and, in 70 percent of cases, causes no symptoms. The bacterial infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
It can also make a woman more likely to be infected with or to pass on the AIDS virus.
Once diagnosed, chlamydia can be easily treated with antibiotics, but it often goes undiagnosed.
Rapid tests for the infection in men have been relatively inaccurate and uncomfortable, requiring a painful swab of the urethra, the team said.
"Horror stories about painful swabs have put men off getting tested for chlamydia, and other non-invasive tests are expensive, technically complex and take days to obtain the result," Lee said.
"This has led to many cases of infection in men going undiagnosed and being transmitted to their female partners, with potentially more serious complications."
The test is already approved for use in France, and will soon be available in Spain, Portugal, Italy and a number of other European countries, Lee said.
Editing by Maggie Fox