Screening women for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in nonclinic settings is highly desirable because many infections are asymptomatic. This is especially true for military women, for whom logistical, social, and other job-related obstacles present barriers to accessing medical care. We assessed the accuracy of intravaginal swabs transported by mail in a wet versus a dry state for PCR (Amplicor CT/NG test) detection of chlamydia and gonorrhea infections in a cross-sectional study of 793 active-duty military women attending an STD clinic. PCR tests of vaginal swabs (wet and dry) were compared to local clinical methods used on cervical swabs. Standard wet vaginal swab PCR testing detected more chlamydia (11.6%) than cervical enzyme immunoassay (9.3%). For detection of chlamydia using wet swabs, the sensitivity and specificity compared with adjudicated true positives were 94.6% (87 of 92) and 99.3% (696 of 701), respectively. Comparing dry swabs to true-positives for chlamydia, the sensitivity was 91.3% (84 of 92) and the specificity was 99.3% (696 of 701). Standard wet vaginal swab PCR detected more gonorrhea (3.3%) than routine cervical culture (2.1%). The sensitivity and specificity of PCR testing of wet swabs compared to true-positives (infected patients) were 96.3% (26 of 27) and 98.2% (752 of 766) for gonorrhea, respectively. For gonorrhea, the sensitivity and specificity of dry swabs compared to true-positives (infected patients) were 88.9% (24 of 27) and 98.3% (753 of 766), respectively. PCR testing of wet and dry transported intravaginal swabs to detect chlamydia and gonorrhea infections was an accurate diagnostic method for military women.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)