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.