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Chlamydia Trachomatis (Genital Chlamydia)


chlamydia swab universal


Swabs – Endocervical /low vaginal/ rectal/ throat/urethral/ high vaginal swabs

Eye swabs

Urine (males only)

Specimen Container

Yellow topped Chlamydia swabs (Copan PCR)

White Top Universal Pots (20-30ml of initial stream urine)

Specimen Collection

  • Females – Endocervical or low vaginal swabs
  • Males – First voided urine. The patient should not have passed urine in the preceding 1 -2 hours. If the specimen will not reach the laboratory on that day please store in the refrigerator.

Endocervical and Low vaginal Swabs

  • The specimen collection kit consists of a paper packet containing 2 swabs and a yellow topped plastic tube containing transport media.
  • For an endocervical swab, it is essential to visualize the cervix. Any discharge or blood should be wiped away. Insert the swab into the cervix and rotate with the aim of removing epithelial cells.
  • For taking a low vaginal swab, ensure the patient is not wearing a tampon. The labia should be parted to open the vagina. Insert a swab gently to about 5cm. Rotate all the way around the vagina
  • If preferred the patient can take her own low vaginal swab ( instructions below)
  • Please take only one sample per patient (vials with 2 swabs in will be rejected)



1. Open the plastic bag. Open the paper packet which contains two swabs. Throw away the thin ended swab – you need to use the THICKER swab ONLY.

2. Stand with your feet apart and your knees bent, or sit down with your knees apart.

3. Take the thicker of the two swabs by the non-fluffy end.

4. With your free hand hold open the skin around the vaginal opening. Place the soft swab tip into the vagina approximately the length of your finger. Rotate the swab all the way around the vagina. Remove the swab and continue to hold it. Do not put it down


5. Holding the yellow topped tube upright, unscrew the cap and put the swab inside with the fluffy end down. There is a faintly scored ring around the white stick about 2/3 of the way up. Hold the swab stick firmly with the score mark against the top of the tube; bend it until it breaks off at the top of the tube. Screw the cap on firmly. Label the tube with your full name, date of birth and the date of the sample. Ensure that the tube only contains the thicker swab. The laboratory will not be able to process the sample if both swabs are in the tube.


6. You may discard the broken stick, packaging and unused swab into a household rubbish bag.

Special Instructions

Please state time of collection and label with the minimum patient identification. Labelling must include the following:

  • Surname
  • First Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Unique Identifier – NHS Number  (Hospital No)

Samples from patients known to have blood transmissible viral infections should be clearly labelled “High Risk” or “Danger of Infection”.

Please include relevant clinical details and any antimicrobial therapy the patient is taking

Test Usage

Diagnosis of Chlamydia Trachomatis Infection.

This test in not validated for urines in females.

Eye swabs will be tested on neonates suspected of having opthalmia neonatorum. Please also send a bacterial swab for Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Self-taken female swabs are acceptable for screening purposes.

The National Chlamydia Screening Programme offers annual (or on change of sexual partner) opportunistic screening to all sexually active men & women under 25 years.

If patient is symptomatic / high suspicion of infection please send HVS/ Endocervical swab.

Do not repeat this test within 1 month.


Local test

Processing Time

Up to 6 days

Useful Links

Chlamydia: surveillance, data, screening and management – UKHSA

British Association for Sexual Health and HIV

National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) – UKHSA

Chlamydia – Devon Sexual Health

Chlamydia – Lab Tests Online UK

Chlamydia – NHS

Specimen Labelling Procedure
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