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Review: papanicolaou and wet mount smears have low sensitivity but high specificity for detecting vaginal trichomoniasis

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 QUESTION: In women, what are the sensitivity and specificity of the Papanicolaou (Pap) and wet mount smears for detecting vaginal trichomoniasis?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline (1976 to February 1998) and reference lists of relevant articles.

Study selection

2 reviewers independently selected studies that described diagnostic tests for vaginal trichomoniasis, used trichomonas culture as the diagnostic standard, and were published in any language.

Data extraction

2 reviewers independently extracted data on study setting and validity of study design and for 2 × 2 contingency tables. The quality of study methods was classified as level I (2 criteria fulfilled), level II (1 criterion fulfilled), or level III (no criteria fulfilled). The following criteria …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr C A Estrada, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine, 600 Moye Boulevard, Pitt County Memorial Hospital, Teaching Annex 389, Greenville, NC 27858, USA. Fax +1 252 816 4688. estradac{at}