Comparison of Aptima Trichomonas vaginalis transcription-mediated amplification assay and BD affirm VPIII for detection of T. vaginalis in symptomatic women: performance parameters and epidemiological implications

J Clin Microbiol. 2011 Mar;49(3):866-9. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02367-10. Epub 2011 Jan 19.


Trichomonas vaginalis is an underestimated sexually transmitted infection (STI) associated with numerous clinical sequelae. The true prevalence and clinical impact of trichomoniasis are unknown, as current methods of detection exhibit poor sensitivity compared to molecular amplification methods. Limited data exist comparing the BD Affirm VPIII hybridization assay to the Gen-Probe Aptima T. vaginalis (ATV) transcription-mediated amplification (TMA) assay for detection of T. vaginalis. In this study, specimens from 766 patients were evaluated. Specimens were retrieved consecutively from patients with vaginal complaints and/or with histories suggestive of STI. Study inclusion was dependent upon the request for and collection of both a vaginal swab for Affirm and a specimen for Aptima Combo 2 by the health care provider during the same office visit. Affirm was performed using the specific collection swab and the transport provided for the test. The ATV assay was performed on remnant Aptima Combo 2 specimens. A second ATV TMA assay, utilizing an alternate T. vaginalis primer and probe set, was performed on all specimens positive by the initial TMA and/or the Affirm assay. Infected-patient status was defined as positive T. vaginalis test results by at least 2 assays. Overall, 5.1% of subjects were positive for T. vaginalis. T. vaginalis was most prevalent in women who were 36 to 45 (11.9%), 51 to 60 (7.7%), and 16 to 25 (4.2%) years of age. The ATV assay was statistically more sensitive than the Affirm assay (100% versus 63.4%, P < 0.0001), identifying 36.6% more positive patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / methods*
  • Parasitology / methods*
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / diagnosis*
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / parasitology
  • Trichomonas vaginalis / isolation & purification*
  • Young Adult


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic