Accuracy of Vaginal Self-Sampling
The overwhelming consensus from studies dating back to 1997 is that home-based vaginal sampling to screen for the presence of STIs using molecular assays is sensitive and accurate
In the last 20 years, researchers have assembled an impressive collection of evidence that screening for a range of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Trichomonas vaginalis can be conducted effectively and accurately outside of the clinic environment.
Studies have demonstrated that women of all ages are capable of collecting their own vaginal samples, that several nucleic acid amplification tests, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR), perform well on self-collected vaginal specimens, and that PCR testing of vaginal swabs transported dry are an accurate diagnostic method for detecting vaginal infections.
Additionally, studies show that most women prefer the self-collection process, which involves the introduction of a cotton-tipped swab into the vagina, over doctor collection. Hard-to-reach populations, or those least likely to access health services, report a strong preference for self-sampling. Vaginal self-sampling is expected to lead to an increase in the number of women screened for non-symptomatic STIs due to its convenience and privacy, and avoidance of the perceived stigma of clinic attendance. This in turn can contribute to reducing the spread of STIs in the community
Source: NCBI PubMed
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