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Self-administered vaginal swabs were accurate for screening for sexually transmitted infections in the emergency department

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Study question

In female patients in the emergency department (ED), is screening for sexually transmitted infections using self-administered vaginal swabs (SAVS) as accurate as physician-assisted cervical swabs (PACS)?

Study design


prospective cohort study.


2 EDs (at a university-based tertiary care centre and a municipal academic level 1 trauma centre) serving a low-income community in Brooklyn, New York, USA.


162 sexually active women 18–55 years of age (mean age 32 y) who attended the ED, with or without genitourinary complaints, and consented to the collection of both types of sample.

Description of test:

self-collection of a vaginal swab for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Patients were given written instructions, and research assistants were available to answer questions.

Diagnostic standard:

cervical swab for PCR testing collected by the ED physician during pelvic examination. …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.