Aids Weekly Plus
British researchers comparing outcomes of invasive and non-invasive gonorrhea tests found that non-invasive vulvovaginal swabs were 96 to 99 percent accurate in comparison to 81-percent accuracy for the more invasive urethra and cervix culture samples. Women in the study took their own vulvovaginal swabs. Doctors or nurses took urethra and cervix culture samples and an endocervical swab during an examination.
The finding suggests women can collect their own samples successfully, according to Catherine Stewart, specialty registrar in genitourinary medicine at Leeds General Infirmary. Approximately one percent of samples taken by each group were unusable. Results were consistent regardless of whether or not women had symptoms. Researchers, therefore, recommended that women without symptoms collect their own vulvovaginal swabs. Women who do have symptoms and require an exam could choose either to collect their own swab or have the clinician do it during the exam.
The full report, “Assessment of Self Taken Swabs Versus Clinician Taken Swab Cultures for Diagnosing Gonorrhea in Women: Single Centre, Diagnostic Accuracy Study,” was published in the British Medical Journal (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8107).