Women Find It Easy and Prefer to Collect Their Own Vaginal Swabs to Diagnose Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrhoeae Infections
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BACKGROUND: Self-collected specimens can be used to screen asymptomatic women for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC). We surveyed women's opinions on ease and preferences as to sampling after collecting their own vaginal swab and urine and a physician collection of vaginal swab and cervical swab. METHODS: In 7 North American cities, a questionnaire was used for women after they participated in a clinical trial of nucleic acid amplification testing of various specimens. A total of 1,090 women consenting to gynecologic sampling for CT and GC (82% of those sampled) volunteered to complete the survey. We analyzed the data for ease of self-collection and preferences for a vaginal swab, urine, or cervical swab. RESULTS: The average age was 26.6 years; 59.6% were black, 25.5% white, 11% Hispanic, 1.9% Asian, and 2% unknown. Thirty-five percent had more than one sex partner in the past 6 months, 84.9% had been previously tested for a sexually transmitted infection (STI), and 49.2% had experienced an STI. A total of 90.4% found it very easy to self-collect a vaginal swab. This was not influenced by age, education, or study site. Seventy-six percent preferred a vaginal swab over a pelvic examination, 60% over a urine collection, and 94% indicated that they would be tested more often if a vaginal swab was available. CONCLUSION: Self-collected vaginal swabs were easy to collect and patients preferred them over urine and cervical swabs.