Female contacts of males with gonococcal urethritis were screened for asymptomatic infection using self-inserted tampons. Results of cultures were compared with specimens collected with cervical swabs during a pelvic examination. The sequence of collection of specimens was randomized, and specimens were promptly incubated. Among 297 patients, 40.4% had positive cervical specimens and 35.4% had positive tampon specimens. A difference in rates of recovery by method of collection was 5.0% +/- 1.7%. A better correlation in results was noted among patients using oral contraceptives and among patients whose tampon specimen was collected after a pelvic examination. A relatively small difference in results by method of collection suggests that tampons may serve as an inexpensive screening device for sexually active women, especially in settings where pelvic examinations are not routinely performed, but where immediate processing of specimens is possible.