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Sex Transm Dis. 2006 Jun;33(6):386-8.

Illustrated instructions for self-collection of anorectal swab specimens and their adequacy for cytological examination.

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BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



Self-collection of anorectal swab specimens would facilitate screening for anal cancer precursors and sexually transmitted rectal infections among men who have sex with men (MSM). However, pictorial guides for self-collection were not previously available.


Develop and field test a set of illustrated self-collection instructions.


Cross-sectional study of community-recruited MSM who were naïve with regard to collection of specimens for anal cytology.


Among 222 self- and clinician-collected swab pairs provided by mostly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 seronegative MSM (median age, 31.5 years), most specimens were adequate for cytologic evaluation, though self-collected swabs were less likely to be so (83% versus 92%, P = <0.001). The illustrated instructions were reportedly essential, but having used them, men rated their understanding of the self-collection procedure as very high.


Provided with illustrated instructions, most MSM who are naïve to the technique can self-collect anorectal swab specimens that are suitable for screening.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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