Understanding the Chlamydia NAAT Test

July 11th, 2011  |  Published in Chlamydia Testing

The NAAT test (or Nucleic Acid Amplification Test) is one of the five Chlamydia tests in common use today. Commonly heralded as the most responsive of these tests, the NAAT works like this:

  • DNA search: The NAAT test can detect the nucleic acids that compose Chlamydia’s DNA in the body fluid sample a patient provides. The test can detect only a few strands of DNA, which is what makes it so sensitive – other tests require full bacteria to detect Chlamydia.
  • Amplification: After finding only a few DNA strands, the chemicals in the NAAT test amplify them so that they’re easier to identify in the lab.
  • Accuracy: The NAAT test is widely considered both accurate and precise by medical professionals.
  • Drawbacks: In some cases, the NAAT test may give a false negative reading. This is because some Chlamydia DNA has coding that causes it to resist amplification.

Who Needs the NAAT Test?

Generally speaking, STD testing is recommended for all sexually active adults. The CDC recommends a Chlamydia test every year or with each new sexual partner. The type of Chlamydia test an individual is offered depends on the medical facility and/or on doctor recommendation.

Non-NAAT Chlamydia tests include those that test for Chlamydia antibodies in a person’s fluids and those that grow Chlamydia cultures in a lab. No single Chlamydia test is “better” than the others; the type of test a person takes can vary based on equipment available and general policy at a given medial center.

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