Candida albicans
  • Routine examination of high vaginal swabs (HVS) includes microscopy for bacterial vaginosis (BV) and Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) and culture for Candida, Lancefield Groups A, C and G streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus
  • Endocervical swabs are required for the diagnosis of gonococcal infection. They are NOT an optimal sample for the diagnosis of Candida, BV or TV
  • Vulval swabs are cultured for Candida, Lancefield Groups A, C and G streptococci, Staphylococcus aureus and in children Haemophilus influenza
  • Urethral swabs are not normally required for microbiological investigation
  • IUCDs may be examined if Actinomyces infection is suspected
  • Listeria culture can be performed in cases of intrauterine death, septic abortion and miscarriage
  • Candida sensitivity testing is available on request for cases of recurrent or recalcitrant candidiasis
  • See also:
  • The information given here is intended for use by healthcare professionals. Please see Lab Tests Online-UK for more general advice, links and background.

Sample requirements

Standard charcoal transport swab

Place swab into transport medium

Black top charcoal swab

Instructions for self-collected vaginal swabs

Required information

  • Relevant clinical details:
    • Suspected STI
    • Pregnancy and gestation point
    • Intra-uterine death, septic abortion or miscarriage
    • PID
    • PROM or SROM
    • Gynaecological surgery
    • Suspected Bartholin's abscess
  • Current or recent antibiotic therapy


Store and transport at room temperature

Turnaround time

2 - 5 days

Investigation for Actinomyces will take 10 - 14 days