Self-obtained vaginal swabs for diagnosis of treatable sexually transmitted diseases in adolescent girls

Kim Smith, Kathy Harrington, Gina Wingood, M. Kim Oh, Edward W. Hook, Ralph J. DiClemente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To ascertain the acceptability of testing and prevalence of 3 readily treatable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (infections with Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Trichomonas vaginalis) with the use of patient-obtained vaginal swabs. Study Design: Study participants at each initial session were asked to provide self-obtained vaginal swabs for ligase chain reaction testing to detect N gonorrhoeae and C trachomatis, and for culture of T vaginalis. Setting: Behavioral intervention sessions with African American adolescent girls in a nonclinical program to reduce risk of STDs, human immunodeficiency virus infection, and pregnancy. Results: All study participants were offered their choice of STD screening in the context of a traditional pelvic examination or using self-obtained vaginal swabs. All eligible participants chose self-administered vaginal swabs. Of the 512 participants examined at their initial study visit, 28.7% were found to be infected with 1 or more treatable STDs (5.3% with N gonorrhoeae, 17.8% with C trachomatis, and 12.9% with T vaginalis). Conclusions: With the use of newer detection systems, STDs can be readily detected in nonclinical settings with the use of self-obtained vaginal swabs, providing new opportunities for efforts to control STDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-679
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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