Part of the data were presented in preliminary form at 33rdAnnual Scientific Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology, Poster 11, August 3–5, 2006, Monterey, California, USA. Culhane J, Nyirjesy P, McCollum K, Casabellata G, Cauci S. Determination of semen detection in vaginal secretions: comparison of four different methods.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Evaluation of Semen Detection in Vaginal Secretions: Comparison of Four Methods
Article first published online: 18 JUL 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Munksgaard
American Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Volume 60, Issue 3, pages 274–281, September 2008
How to Cite
Culhane, J. F., Nyirjesy, P., McCollum, K., Casabellata, G., Di Santolo, M. and Cauci, S. (2008), ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Evaluation of Semen Detection in Vaginal Secretions: Comparison of Four Methods. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 60: 274–281. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0897.2008.00632.x
- Issue published online: 13 AUG 2008
- Article first published online: 18 JUL 2008
- Submitted March 31, 2008; accepted May 26, 2008.
- Acid phosphatase;
- pregnant women;
- prostate-specific antigen;
- vaginal cytokines;
- vaginal immune markers
Problem To determine the best method to detect semen in human vaginal secretions.
Method of study Vaginal secretions from 302 pregnant women at mean 11.8 weeks’ gestation were analyzed. Semen detection was assessed with: (i) measurement of total prostate-specific antigen (PSA), (ii) acid phosphatase activity, (iii) microscopic measurement of spermatozoa on Gram stain, and (iv) self-reported sexual intercourse in the past 2 days. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated for each technique in comparison with PSA levels.
Results A total of 119 (39.4%) women had a detectable PSA. Compared with measurable PSA, the sensitivity and specificity for other methods were: acid phosphatase (26.9%, 98.4%), Gram stain (36.1%, 98.4%), and self-report of intercourse in the past 48 hr (41.9%, 88.8%).
Conclusion Compared with PSA levels, commonly used assays for recent semen exposure are inaccurate. This inaccuracy may affect the results of studies, which measure vaginal immune factors like cytokines or retrieve DNA from vaginal specimens.