The Oricult-N semiquantitative dipslide (Orion Diagnostica, Espoo, Finland) was evaluated for the laboratory diagnosis of vaginal candidiasis. It was compared with broth culture (Vagicult; Orion Diagnostica). Oricult-N was positive for 14.5% of 124 symptomatic patients and 12% of 50 asymptomatic controls. The results for broth cultures were 17 and 22%, respectively. Thus, the test group and the control group did not differ significantly by either method. High vaginal yeast counts (>/=10(5) CFU/ml) were detected by Oricult-N in 7% of patients and in 0% of controls, but both groups harbored low numbers of yeasts. An accurate quantitative cutoff point separating a level of yeast associated with infection from vaginal yeast carriage could not be defined in the study. Nevertheless, the easy semiquantitation allowed by the Oricult-N method could be helpful because, especially in low-count carriers of Candida, other potential causes of vaginal symptoms should be considered. The Oricult-N method was technically simple and could be applied in primary health care. Further studies are required, however, before Oricult-N can be recommended as a routine diagnostic tool.