Widespread Test Tube Shortages Leading to Disruptions in Sexual Health Services
February 16, 2022
For Immediate Release: February 16, 2022 Contact: Kathleen Jeanty, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-610-5424
Washington, DC – As a result of the demands of COVID-19 testing and global supply chain problems, a shortage of blood specimen collection tubes is adversely affecting the availability of STD testing, specifically for HIV and syphilis. The National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) calls on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to do everything in their power to address this shortage and urges our federal partners to take immediate action to mitigate the shortage and the subsequent public health fallout.
FDA recently announced that this medical device shortage, which initially applied only to sodium citrate blood specimen collection tubes, now applies to all test tubes. “Blood specimen collection tubes are essential for providing routine, standard of care blood testing for laboratory analysis, including sexual health testing,” says Jennifer Mahn, NCSD director of clinical and sexual health. “This shortage is leading to widespread disruptions in vitally important sexual health services,” continues Ms. Mahn.
NCSD issued background information on this issue to its STD Clinic Plus members to alert them on January 20, 2022. FDA is urging laboratory personnel to immediately consider their conservation strategies to minimize test tube use by performing only blood draws considered medically necessary and reducing tests at routine wellness visits only to those that target specific disease states or where it will change patient treatment. As STI rates continue to skyrocket across the country, we simply cannot afford to decrease STI testing.
“Sexual health clinics and providers should not have to ration essential public health supplies, nor should they be forced to make decisions about which individuals warrant testing,” says Stephanie Arnold Pang, NCSD’s senior director of government relations & policy. “NCSD will continue to monitor this situation and again call on our federal partners to do all they can to mitigate this shortage, including using emergency powers granted under the Defense Production Act, to ensure continued access to routine, lifesaving STI testing for all,” concludes Ms. Arnold Pang.
About the National Coalition of STD Directors
NCSD is a national public health membership organization representing health department STD directors, their support staff, and their community-based partners across 50 states, seven large cities, and eight U.S. territories. We provide leadership, build capacity, convene partners, and advocate. For more information, visit www.ncsddc.org.