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Introducing Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) for Trichomonas vaginalis

The Public Health Microbiology Reference Laboratory at the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC PHMRL) has implemented nucleic acid testing (NAT) for Trichomonas vaginalis using the FDA-approved Aptima Trichomonas vaginalis assay.

The new DNA test offers both increased sensitivity and specificity as compared to microscopy. This means the test is better able to correctly identify people with the infection, while also more accurately identifying those patients without the infection.

Specimen collection

The clinical criteria for requesting testing for Trichomonas vaginalis will remain the same (see the CRNBC STI Assessment Decision Support Tool).

There is a change in how the specimens are collected. To collect a specimen for T. vaginalis, use the same swab that is used to collect gonorrhea and chlamydia samples (as opposed to using smears/slides). Trichomonas has been added onto this testing platform. 

Please note: the BCCDC PHMRL will not be accepting vaginal smears for T. vaginalis as of January 2016.

Both the STI Assessment and Trichomoniasis CRNBC Decision Support Tools (DSTs) have been revised to accommodate this change.

For more information

For any questions related to this change please contact:
Cheryl Prescott RN(C), BSN MPH
Senior Practice Leader, STI & TB
Clinical Prevention Services, BCCDC