Background The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the benefits of telemedicine. Self-collected specimens are a promising alternative to clinician-collected specimens when in-person testing is not feasible. In this study, we assessed the adequacy of self-collected pharyngeal and rectal specimens for the detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae among individuals undergoing chlamydia and gonorrhea screening. Methods We used data from a large cohort study that included male and female adolescents between the ages of 12–24 years. We considered self-collected specimens adequate for clinical use if the human synthase gene (a control target of the assay) was detected in the specimen. Results In total, 2,458 specimens were included in the analysis. The human synthase gene was detected in 99.2% (2,439/2,458) of all self-collected specimens, 99.5% (1,108/1,114) of the pharyngeal specimens, and 99.0% (1,331/1,344) of the rectal specimens. Conclusion Self-collected pharyngeal and rectal specimens demonstrated a very high proportion of human gene presence, suggesting that self-collection was accurate. A limitation of this study is that the sample adequacy control detects the presence or absence of the human hydroxymethylbilane synthase gene, but it does not indicate the specific anatomic origin of the human hydroxymethylbilane synthase gene. Self-collected specimens may be an appropriate alternative to clinician-collected specimens.
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