Collecting your butt (rectal) swab sample

Last reviewed Nov 2023

Relax and follow these simple steps

A rectal swab can test for STIs including; chlamydia and gonorrhea, if you’ve had anal (in your butt) sex. 

You might find the following tips helpful:

  • Read the printed instructions in your kit first - this has the most up-to-date information.
  • Give yourself enough time, so you’re relaxed. 
  • Need to poop? Go now, and then wait a while before taking your swab. This will ensure your butt is clean and your rectum is empty.

Here's your step-by-step guide on how to collect your sample

Before you start

  • Before you take this sample, it helps to wipe or clean your butt.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Unpack your kit.
  • Consider your location, it's best to take your sample in the bathroom so you can wash your hands before and after.

Be careful you don't touch the tip of the swab. Once the swab is out of the packet, try to make sure the swab doesn't touch anything else apart from the area of your body you are swabbing.

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1. Collect your sample

  • Wash and dry your hands before opening the sample kit. 

  • Hold the swab firmly, 1–1.5 inches from the tip.
  • Find a comfortable position. This could be sitting on the toilet or bending over.
  • Insert the tip of the swab 1 inch into your butt. If you feel resistance it can help to twist the swab as you insert it.
  • Gently rotate the swab 5-10 times around the inside walls of your rectum.
  • Continue rotating the swab as you gently remove it.
  • Put it back into the tube and push tightly to close.
  • Place the tube into the transport bag, fold the top of the bag over and seal it.

You're all done, get ready to return your samples to us. 

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2. Complete the form

  • Write your name and date of birth on the form provided, along with the date your samples were collected. If you can’t complete the form yourself, ask someone for help.
  • Place the form and your samples back into the kit box and return the box following the instructions in step three.
  • Please note, your samples cannot be tested without the completed form.

3. Returning your samples

  • Your samples should be returned on the day they were collected. If this is not possible, store them in a refrigerator until returned.
  • Check that each sample has been closed tightly and is in a sealed transport bag.
  • Place your samples and your completed form back into the kit box. Close it securely by inserting the two large tabs on the box lid into the slots, pressing down firmly to lock them into place. Apply the clear security seal provided or add tape for extra security.
  • The return postage has been pre-paid, just drop the kit box into a USPS mail box.