The terms below are
defined in the context of the Region VI Infertility Prevention Project. Many
of these terms may be used in other settings, with different meanings.
- The extent to which a measurement is close to the true value.
Test - A test which replicates the genetic material (DNA or RNA) of a
micro-organism such as chlamydia from a few copies to millions within a few
hours. These amplified (replicated) copies can then be detected, usually by
photometry or fluorimetry.
- A chemical substance capable of destroying microorganisms, specifically
- A state where a person is infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea but has no
clinical symptoms (e.g. friable cervix and/or mucopus).
- An antibiotic used to treat chlamydial infections that can be given in a
single dose. The standard dose is 1 gram orally in a single dose.
- A small one-celled (unicellular) microorganism. Bacteria vary in shape
(morphologically), being spheric (cocci), rod-shaped (bacilli), spiral
(spirochetes), or comma-shaped (vibrios).
- Two small compound, mucus glands, one on each side of the vaginal opening,
at the base of the labia majora.
- Moderate to
severe tenderness elicited when the cervix is palpated or manipulated.
- Infection and/or inflammation of the cervix. Can be a sign of chlamydial
- The narrow neck of the uterus which extends into the vagina.
trachomatis (Ct) -The bacterial
agent which causes chlamydial infections, the most common sexually transmitted
bacterial infection in the United States. While chlamydia are classified as
bacteria, they share some properties of both bacteria and viruses.
- Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act of 1967 (and amendments of 1988) which
sets the guidelines for any clinical laboratory which tests material obtained
from human clients, i.e. blood, tissue, swabs, etc. CLIA is administered
through the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA).
- A laboratory in which tests directly related to the care of clients are
performed. Such laboratories use material obtained from clients for testing,
as compared with research laboratories, where animal and other sources of test
material are also used.
Procedure - Analytical procedure
(test) performed on any specimens (samples) taken from humans and used to
diagnose disease or infection.
- Locations in the body from which a chlamydia specimen may be taken. These
sites include: cervix, urethra, rectum, throat, conjunctiva (eye).
- A laboratory test involving the cultivation of microorganisms or cells in a
special growth medium.
Diagnostic Test - A test designed to detect chlamydia in a
client presenting with symptoms or risk history, as distinguished from a
- Disease Intervention Specialist - A trained individual working with clients
testing positive for STDs and their partners to confirm treatment and identify
all other potentially infected individuals. Usually employed by a health
- See Nucleic Acid Hybridization Test.
- An antibiotic used to treat chlamydial infections. The standard dosage is
100 mg orally, twice a day, for 7 days.
- A pregnancy occurring anywhere except in the uterus, usually in the
fallopian tubes. A serious, potentially fatal consequence of chlamydial
- Visible columnar epithelial cells that extend onto the outer surface of the
cervix. In younger women or women using hormonal contraceptives, ectopy is
considered normal. Ectopy increases the risk of acquiring chlamydia by
exposing the more vulnerable columnar epithelial cells.
- The mucous membrane lining the inner surface of the uterus.
- An antibiotic used to treat chlamydial infection, especially for pregnant
women. The standard dosage is 500 mg orally 4 times a day for 7 days.
- An agent that causes disease.
(Result) - A test result that
indicates the absence of a condition when the condition is actually present.
The rate of occurrence of false negative results varies with the diagnostic
accuracy and the specificity of the test or procedure. As the accuracy and
specificity of a test increases, the rate of false negatives decreases.
Certain tests are known to yield false negative results at a certain rate; in
all tests, a small number of false negatives will occur by chance alone.
- The rate of occurrence of negative test results in subjects known to have
the disease or disorder for which the individual is being tested.
(Result) - A test result that
wrongly indicates the presence of a condition when the condition is not
False Positive (Rate)
- The rate of occurrence of positive test results in tests of individuals
known to be free of a disease or disorder for which the individual is being
- Fragile, easily crumbled, especially prone to bleeding; for example,
cervical tissue in some chlamydia infections.
- A common sexually transmitted disease most often affecting the genitourinary
tract and, occasionally, the pharynx, conjunctiva, or rectum. Infection
results from contact with an infected person or by contact with secretions
containing the causative organism Neisseria gonorrhea.
- An assay (test) which detects antigens or antibodies.
- A branch of medicine that deals with immune responses associated with
- The inability to conceive or carry a fetus to term. Chlamydia-related
infertility is most often caused by scarring in the fallopian tubes.
- A package of test reagents, package insert, etc. which enable a laboratory
to perform a particular test, i.e. a chlamydia kit would enable a laboratory
to test for chlamydia.
Ligase Chain Reaction
(LCR) - An amplification test for
chlamydia and/or gonorrhea. A process whereby a strand of DNA can be cloned
(replicated) millions of times within a few hours.
- The lipopolysaccharide in the Chlamydia organism, a part of the organism.
The same LPS is present in all chlamydia species, e.g. C. trachomatis, C.
psittaci, C. pneumonia, etc. Any
test which detects chlamydia LPS would cross react with all chlamydia
- Green or yellow discharge when viewed on a white cotton swab that has been
inserted into the cervical os.
Hybridization Test (DNA Probe) -
The Gen-Probe Pace 2 assay. A laboratory test which detects C. trachomatis
- The written pamphlet in every diagnostic test kit which includes
instructions for proper use (kit directions) of the kit. In addition, the
package insert contains some or all of the following: information on intended
use; summary and explanation of the test; principles of the procedure;
reagents provided; special precautions; specimen collection, storage and
transport; materials provided/not provided with kit; procedural limitations;
performance characteristics; results; and quality control.
- The process of identifying sex partners of clients testing positive and
informing them that they are at risk for infection and need to be tested.
Disease (PID) - A clinical syndrome
identified by a range of symptoms including lower abdominal pain and
tenderness, bilateral adnexal tenderness, low-grade fever, and cervical motion
tenderness. Serious sequelae (consequences) can include infertility, ectopic
pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. PID can be one of the serious
consequences of chlamydia infections.
Reaction (PCR) - An amplification
test for chlamydia. A process whereby a strand of DNA can be cloned
(replicated) millions of times within a few hours.
Negative - The likelihood that a
person with a negative test does not have the disease.
Positive - The likelihood that an
individual with a positive test has the disease.
- Also known as epidemiologic treatment. The treatment of clients suspected
of having a disease based on identified risk factors and/or clinical findings,
without waiting for the confirmation of a test result.
- The percentage of people in a given population that have a given disease,
e.g. the prevalence of chlamydia in Clinic A is 5%, that is 5 out 100
individuals in Clinic A are infected with chlamydia.
Program (QAP) - A comprehensive set
of policies, procedures, and practices used to monitor the services provided
in a clinical or laboratory setting. These plans should include protocols for
proper record keeping, calibration and maintenance of equipment, monitoring of
quality controls and proficiency testing results, and training.
Quality Control (QC)
- The set of laboratory or clinical procedures designed to ensure that a test
is working properly, e.g. test controls, monitor lot-to-lot variation,
monitor/run CO values, etc.
- A set of characteristics used to determine which clients in an asymptomatic
population should receive a test for chlamydia.
Screening Test - A test performed to detect a disease or condition in a client presenting for a
routine exam, with no symptoms or risk history indicating chlamydia, as
distinguished from a diagnostic test.
- Testing for a disease or condition in a population using screening criteria,
as opposed to universal screening of an entire client population, or diagnostic
testing of clients with symptoms.
- The ability of a test to detect clients who have the disease or condition for
which they are being tested.
Skeneís glands -
Named for an American gynecologist, the glands are located just inside of and
posterior to the urethra in the female. In acute gonorrhea, these glands are
almost always infected.
- The ability of a test to identify clients who do not have the disease or
condition for which they are being tested.
- A small sample of a substance, intended to show the nature of the whole, such
as a blood or urine specimen.
- The quality of the specimen obtained from the client judged by the number and
type of cells sampled.
- Client presenting with clinical complaints of disease.
Amplification (TMA) - An
amplification test for the detection of chlamydia. A process whereby a strand
of RNA can be cloned (replicated) millions of times within a few hours.
- Testing for a disease or condition in an entire client population, regardless
of symptoms, risk history, or other factors.
- Inflammation of the urethra.