Pilot study comparing self-collected vaginal swab with clinician taken vaginal swab for the detection of candida and bacterial vaginosis

Pam Barnes, Rute Vieira, Mayur Chauhan

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractpeer-review


Background/introduction Vaginal discharge and vulvitis are common
presenting symptoms in both sexual health services and
general practice. Due to various constrains particularly in general
practice, examination of a patient may not be possible. Syndromic
management is often practiced but can be unreliable.
Few studies to date have specifically looked at the validity of
self-collected vulvovaginal swab for the diagnosis of bacterial
vaginosis (BV) and vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC)
Aim(s)/objectives To describe agreement between self-collected
vulvovaginal swabs and clinician taken high vaginal swabs for
the detection of BV and VVC.
Design Case controlled study with the patient acting as her own
An urban sexual health centre. Participants: Women aged 16–
65 years attending with symptomatic vaginal discharge, vulval
irritation or an offensive genital smell. Interventions: Participants
took a vulvovaginal swab prior to speculum insertion and vaginal
examination during which a clinician took a high vaginal swab.
Main outcome measure: Diagnosis of BV or VVC infection with
samples analysed in a microbiology department using both
microscopy and culture.
Results 104 women were enrolled in the study. Of these 45
were diagnosed with VVC. 26 were diagnosed with BV. Using
the reference standard of laboratory testing, the sensitivities of
self-collected vulvovaginal swabs for BV and VVC were 88.5%
and 95.5% respectively. The Cohen Kappa score showed strong
agreement for the detection of both BV and VVC (k = 0.842
and k = 0.878 respectively).
Discussion/conclusion Self-collected vulvovaginal swabs appear
to be a valid alternative to clinician taken high vaginal swabs for
detecting BV and VVC infections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A8
JournalSexually Transmitted Infections
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventBritish Association for Sexual Health and HIV Annual Conference 2016 - Oxford, UK
Duration: 10 Jul 201610 Jul 2016


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