Smear test

With a smear test, fluid is taken from the penis, vagina, anus or throat.

A vaginal smear

In women, fluid is taken from the cervix. This is done with a metal instrument: the duck bill. Using this, the doctor or nurse can reach the mucus membrane of the cervix and examine the vagina. This does not hurt.

A smear from the penis

In men, a swab is used to take fluid from the urethra. This is not painful and is only necessary if there is discharge from the penis or pain during urination. This smear is tested for gonorrhoea. In the past, a test for chlamydia involved taking a deeper swab from the urethra. For many men this was an unpleasant experience. These days a urine test is sufficient.

An anal smear

This done with an instrument, a proctoscope, that is inserted a short distance into the anus. Fluid is taken and the inside of the anus is checked. Symptoms of genital herpes and genital warts can be clearly visible.