High Vaginal Swab (HVS) is a technique used in diagnostic medicine to obtain a sample of discharge from the vagina. This sample is then sent for microscopy, culture and sensitivity (MCS). As the vagina cleans itself, a clear vaginal discharge is normal or physiologic. But a discharge that is copious, coloured and malodourous is a symptom or sign of infection. Most times vaginal discharge is associated with itching, redness, burning, irritation and pain during intercourse.

High vaginal swab is used to test for for the presence vulvovaginal candidiasis, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis caused by Trichomonas vaginalis is a sexually transmitted infection.

The vaginal swab test involves taking a sample of vagina secretions with a device that looks like a cotton bud. High vaginal swab involves the doctor, nurse or lab scientist inserting a small device called a speculum. The speculum will allow the doctor visualise the inside of the vagina and the neck of the womb making the sample collection easy. During the procedure, you might feel a little discomfort but there is usually no pain.

The cost of high vaginal swab is around #4,000 to #6,000 naira. Vaginal swabs are done in laboratories and in hospitals. The result of the swab sent for microscopy, culture and sensitivity comes out in 48 hours or 72 hours depending on the causative organism.

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