Background: Self-obtained penile swabs and urine have been used for C. trachomatis (CT), N. gonorrhoeae (GC), and T. vaginalis (TV) for outreach screening.
Objectives: To compare the sensitivity of self-collected male penile swabs and urine for the detection of C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae, and T. vaginalis.
Methods: Matched penile swabs and urines were collected at home after recruitment to the study via the Internet program, www.iwantthekit.org. The instructions directed the participant to place the tip of a Copan flocked swab at the meatal opening of the urethra to collect the sample. After penile swab collection, participants urinated onto a Copan sponge-on-a-shaft collection device. Both swab and urine were placed into individual APTIMA transport tubes and mailed for testing. All specimens were tested for CT and GC using the GenProbe APTIMA Combo2 Assay, and for TV using GenProbe APTIMA Analyte Specific Reagents (ASR) with TV oligonucleotides.
Results: Of 602 men, 83 (13.8%) were positive for CT, 8 (1.3%) were positive for GC, and 56 (9.3%) positive for TV. For CT, swab sensitivity was 78/83 (93.97%), and urine sensitivity was 63/83 (75.90%). For GC, swab sensitivity was 8/8 (100%), and urine sensitivity was 7/8 (87.50%). For TV, swab sensitivity was 45/56 (80.36%), and urine sensitivity was 22/56 (39.29%).
Conclusions: Self-obtained penile swabs are able to identify more CT, GC and TV than urine specimens.
Implications for Programs, Policy, and/or Research: Self-collected penile swabs may represent a new sampling method for diagnosing STIs in men.