Collecting your throat swab sample

Last reviewed Nov 2023

Relax and follow these simple steps

A throat swab can test for STIs including; chlamydia and gonorrhea, if you’ve had oral (in your mouth) sex, or have been deep kissing as this has been shown to be a way that people can pass on gonorrhea.

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. 
  • It helps to have a mirror handy to see where you are putting the swab
  • It is best to avoid taking a throat swab immediately after eating and drinking.

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

Before you start

  • Wash your hands.
  • Unpack your kit.

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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Take your test

1. Collect your sample

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

  • When you're ready, open your mouth, stick your tongue out and look into a mirror. You'll notice an arch across the back of your mouth.
  • Avoiding the tonsils, run the swab across the back of your throat behind the arch. Make sure to also swab the sides of your throat, including over and around where your tonsils are - similar to completing a COVID test.
  • Remove the swab from your mouth being careful not to touch your tongue.
  • Put the swab back into the tube and push tightly to close it.
  • 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.