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Int J STD AIDS. 2002 Aug;13(8):559-63.

Diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis on self-collected vaginal tampon specimens.

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  • 1Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, Mtubatuba, South Africa.


A vaginal tampon specimen was previously shown to be suitable for the molecular diagnosis of non-ulcerative sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Different tampon fluid preparations were evaluated for the diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis (BV). Women with pregnancy related problems were enrolled. Two observers evaluated the different tampon fluid preparations and vaginal smears collected during speculum examination using the Nugent score. Using the Amsel criteria, 21% of the 84 women enrolled were diagnosed with BV. Results of the tampon fluid preparations and vaginal smears showed excellent agreement for both observers (Spearman >0.80). The overall sensitivity and specificity was 91.7% (95% CI: 81.6-96.5) and 79.3% (95% CI: 67.2-87.8), respectively, using the Amsel criteria as reference standard. The tampon provides a specimen for the combined diagnosis of non-ulcerative STIs and BV. This non-invasively collected specimen may facilitate self-initiated testing and population-based studies as well as longitudinal studies that are necessary to gain insight in the epidemiology of BV related to STIs and HIV.

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