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Genital swabs


Vaginal/ vulvovaginal/ vulval

Tests provided

All vaginal swabs will receive a microscopy to identify yeast cells, bacterial vaginosis (BV) and Trichomonas vaginalis (TV). Culture for Candida is also carried out on all swabs in this group.

Please note that vaginal and vulval swabs are not appropriate specimen types for Gonorrhoea investigations.

The only exception to this are paediatric patients where vaginal swabs will be investigated for Gonorrhoea if the clinical details are suggestive of sexual assault.

Please provide the below clinical details so that further bacterial culture can be carried out:

  • Children <14yrs
  • Adults >65yrs
  • Post operative
  • Post natal <6wks
  • Miscarriage
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Abscess
  • PID
  • Fever
  • Antenatal

Click here to see which infections are called directly to the clinician.

How to collect a vaginal sample/ patient preperation
  • Remove all excessive amount of secretions or discharge.
  • Obtain samples from the mucosal membrane of the the vaginal vault.


Cervical Swabs

Cervical and urethral swabs will be investigated for Neisseria gonorrhoea ONLY.  So, please ensure an HVS is also taken to ensure all possible causes of infection are tested for.

How to collect a cervical sample/ patient preperation
  • Collect endocervical sample by speculum examination.
  • Remove any mucus or vaginal material from the cervical outer surface.
  • Insert the swab into the cervix and leave it inside the cervix for a few seconds.
  • Remove swab from cervix and avoid contact with vaginal mucosa when withdrawing swab.


Urethral Swabs

For urethral swabs, Candida investigations on catheterized & elderly patients can be performed, but only if requested.

How to collect a male urethral sample/ patient preperation
  • Express exudate from the urethra and collect it on a swab.
  • Collect an additional exudate sample on a swab for preparation of a slide.
  • If no exudate is available insert a swab into the male urethra, rotate and remove it.


Male / Penile swabs for routine culture

Routine culture will be performed on all penile swabs so please request M, C & S superficial swab.  DO NOT request genital screen.

Penile swabs are routinely cultured for causes of general skin and soft tissue infections e.g. Staphylococcus aureus, Beta haemolytic Streptococci, Candida etc.

Neisseria Gonorrhoea will ONLY be screened for if the clinical details suggest this as a cause of infection.

Chlamydia swabs

Please see separately. 


(Modified Last By: AOM 16.7.16)