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    Vaginal self-sampling for STIs

     

    Analyses of responses from questionnaires completed by the study participants showed they were almost unanimous in considering the self-collection easy (97.1%). Most women also rated it as comfortable (88.3%), preferred self-collection over physician collection (80.9%), and said they would consider using the self-collection device at home (79.7%).

    Greater comfort was the leading reason cited for preferring the self-collection device. Of the minority of the participants who preferred physician collection, two-thirds expressed concern about collecting an inadequate sample.

    Laboratory testing identified C. trachomatis infection in 20 participants (10.6%) and N. gonorrhoeae in 5 participants (2.6%). The self-collection method detected 4 more C. trachomatis infections and 3 more N. gonorrhoeae infections than the physician collected method but the number of infections was too few to measure significance. Overall, there was a high level of agreement between the two methods for both C. trachomatis (94.7%) and N. gonorrhoeae (98.4%).

    Additional analyses showed that participant’s positive impressions about the self-collection procedure were robust across a variety of individual characteristics. There were no significant relationships between ratings of either ease or comfort of use and presence of vaginal symptoms, history of an STI, the order in which specimen collection was performed, or the participant’s preference for the self-collection technique. In addition, preference for self-collection versus physician-collection was not associated with age or willingness to consider self-collection at home, and participants were similarly likely to consider self-collection at home whether or not they had a history of STI or current symptoms.

    Dr Chernesky noted that other research conducted by his group indicate that despite the absence of storage in transport media, specimen analysis remains accurate as long as the dry sample is processed within 7 days.

    “Avoiding the need for transport media may also increase user acceptance of this product considering that we have also learned that concern about spilling transport media on themselves is an issue some women raise with the use of other vaginal self-collection kits,” he said.

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