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Self-Testing for Bacterial Vaginosis Is Accurate

Self-tests for bacterial vaginosis (BV) are reasonably accurate (73% sensitive and 67% specific for a pH-based test and 40% sensitive and 90% specific for a self-sialidase test when compared with a clinical diagnosis using modified Amsel criteria). The pH-based test has been available over the counter since 2001 and may be useful when pelvic exams are not feasible. The self-sialidase test received a waiver from the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments and has been marketed by physicians since 2004.

Jill S. Huppert, MD, MPH, from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, and colleagues published their study results online March 22 in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The goal of the study was to see how the accuracy of self-tests for BV compares with that of diagnostic tests performed by a clinician.

The young women in the study were recruited from an ambulatory clinical setting and had already agreed to participate in a study self-testing for Trichomonas vaginalis. Of the 246 women in that original study, 131 also agreed to perform BV self-testing. Patients who agreed to perform BV self-testing were more likely to have clinical BV (25% vs 14%; P = .03) than those who declined.

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