Slide Examination – Genital Smear

Consistent with O. Reg. 671/92 of the French Language Services Act, laboratory testing information on this page is only available in English because it is scientific or technical in nature and is for use only by qualified health care providers and not by members of the public.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

Slide examination


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) and/or Trichomonas/Trichomonas vaginalis and/or yeast

Genital – female vaginal, male urethral

Neisseria gonorrhoeae Culture Kit (6-Pack); Kit order#: 390051

Submission and Collection Notes


The PHO GC kit/Neisseria gonorrhoeae culture kit (kit order # 390051) is sent with slides and swabs for preparing slide examinations if required.


Unsuitable specimens: Only the sites indicated above are acceptable for testing, other specimen sources will not be accepted.  Broken or chipped slides, and unlabeled slides are not acceptable and testing will not be performed.


Make a thin smear by rolling the swab on the microscopic slide.


Female vaginal smears are observed for bacterial vaginosis (BV), pus cells, Trichomonas species and yeast-like cells. Smear preparations from pre-pubertal female patients (i.e. ≤ 12 years) will only be tested for pus and yeast cells. Trichomonas and bacterial vaginosis (BV) results will only be reported if requested on the requisition.


Male urethral smears are observed for intracellular gram negative diplococci (GNDC), suggestive of Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection and pus cells. Trichomonas and/or yeast results will only be reported if requested on the requisition.

Storage and Transport

Label the frosted portion of the slide with the patient’s name (or initials), one other identifier and the site. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.  Allow the smear preparation to air dry completely before placing in the slide mailer; secure with elastic band, if necessary.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Slide examination testing for genital smears is performed daily, Monday to Friday. 

Turnaround time is up to 4 days from receipt by PHO laboratory.

Test Methods

Smears are heat fixed and stained by Gram staining techniques.


For female smear preparations, pus cells, Trichomonas vaginalis, and yeast are interpreted as present or not present.  Bacterial counts are performed to interpret the overall direct smear as a normal, altered or bacterial vaginosis presentation.

For male smears, pus cells and intracellular gram negative diplococci are interpreted as present or not present.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

Male smears that are positive for GNDC (suggestive of Neisseria gonorrhoeae) are reported to the Medical Officer of Health as per the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Additional Information

Slide examinations may accompany Neisseria gonorrhoeae culture, Chlamydia trachomatis NAAT and Chlamydia trachomatis/Neisseria gonorrhoeae NAAT test requests. 

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Updated 20 July 2020