This article has a correction

Please see: Sex Transm Infect 2013;89:534

Sex Transm Infect 89:305-307 doi:10.1136/sextrans-2012-050686
    • Clinical
  • Short report

Comparison of self-obtained penile-meatal swabs to urine for the detection of C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae and T. vaginalis

  1. Charlotte A Gaydos1,2
  1. 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  2. 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Charlotte A Gaydos, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, Room 530 Rangos Building, 855 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205-2196, USA; cgaydos{at}
  • Accepted 16 September 2012
  • Published Online First 23 October 2012


Background Self-obtained penile-meatal swabs and urine specimens have been used for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) and Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) for outreach screening in men.

Objective To compare the sensitivity of self-collected male penile-meatal swabs and urine for the detection of CT, NG and TV.

Methods Matching penile-meatal swabs and urines were collected at home after recruitment to the study; via the internet programme, The instructions directed the participant to place the tip of a Copan flocked swab at the meatal opening of the urethra to collect the penile-meatal sample. Two ml of urine was collected after the swab onto a Copan sponge-on-a-shaft collection device. Both swab and urine were placed into individual Aptima transport media tubes and mailed to the laboratory for testing. All specimens were tested for CT and NG using the GenProbe Aptima Combo2 Assay and for TV using GenProbe Aptima Analyte Specific Reagents with TV oligonucleotides.

Results Of 634 men, 86 (13.6%) were positive for CT, 9 (1.4%) were positive for NG and 56 (9.3%) positive for TV. For CT, swab sensitivity was 81/86 (94.2%), and urine sensitivity was 66/86 (76.7%). For NG, swab sensitivity was 9/9 (100%) and urine sensitivity was 8/9 (88.9%). For TV, swab sensitivity was 45/56 (80.4%) and urine sensitivity was 22/56 (39.3%).

Conclusions Self-obtained penile-meatal swabs provided for the detection of more CT, NG and TV, than urine specimens.