Video Instructions


Vaginal Swab Specimen Collection


  • A self-collected swab is one way to test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Other options are available. If you have questions about the self-collected swab, other sample collection options, or about STIs, consult your health care provider.
  • Self-collection is an option in clinical settings if you agree to perform the procedure. Counseling from your health-care provider is available for the self-collection procedure.
  • Carefully read the swab self-collection instructions below. If you feel you can perform this self-collection procedure and wish to use this method of testing for STIs, inform your health-care provider.
  • Do not take the collection kit or your self-collected specimen out of the clinic
  • Some self-collected specimen types are not available with all assays. Refer to the appropriate assay package insert for appropriate specimen types.


Carefully follow procedures for reliable results. If you have any questions about any procedure, please ask your health-care provider.

  1. Wash your hands before starting.
  2. In the privacy of the examination room or restroom, you will need to undress, as necessary. You will need to comfortably position yourself to maintain balance during the collection procedure.
  3. Open kit package. Remove the swab and the tube. Set the tube aside before beginning instructions below to collect the specimen or specimens requested by your health-care.

WARNING: If at any time the contents of the tube are spilled on your skin, wash the affected area with soap and water. If the contents of the tube are splashed in your eyes, immediately flush your eyes with water. Notify your health-care provider if irritation develops. If the contents of the tube are spilled, request a new Aptima Multitest Swab Specimen Collection Kit. Do not take internally.

Collection Procedure

  1. Before proceeding, read the patient information and general instructions.


  2. Partially peel open the swab package as shown in Diagram 1. Remove the swab.

    Do not touch the soft tip or lay the swab down.

    If the soft tip is touched, the swab is laid down, or the swab is dropped, request a new Aptima Multitest Swab Specimen Collection Kit.


  3. Hold the swab in your hand as shown in Diagram 2, placing your thumb and forefinger in the middle of the swab shaft covering the score line (black line).

    Do not hold the swab shaft below the score line (black line).


  4. Carefully insert the swab into your vagina about 2 inches (5 cm) inside the opening of the vagina (as shown in Diagram 3) and gently rotate the swab for 10 to 30 seconds.

    Make sure the swab touches the walls of the vagina so that moisture is absorbed by the swab and then withdraw the swab without touching the skin.


  5. While holding the swab in the same hand, unscrew the cap from the tube as shown in Diagram 4.

    Do not spill the contents of the tube.

    If the contents of the tube are spilled, request a new Aptima Multitest Swab Specimen Collection Kit.


  6. Immediately place the swab into the transport tube so that the score line (black line) is at the top of the tube as shown in Diagram 5.

  7. Carefully break the swab shaft at the score line (black line) against the side of the tube as shown in Diagram 6.


  8. Immediately discard the top portion of the swab shaft as shown in Diagram 7.


  9. Tightly screw the cap onto the tube as shown in Diagram 8. Return the tube as instructed by your health-care provider.


Important information to Consider

  • Before you collect a vaginal swab specimen, inform your health-care provider if you have:
    • recent pelvic pain
    • pain with sexual intercourse
    • unusual vaginal discharge or bad odor

    These symptoms can be due to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Prompt diagnosis and treatment of PID can help prevent infertility and ectopic pregnancy associated with PID.