Members of the genus Actinomyces, Gram-positive, non-spore-forming anaerobic bacteria, are normal inhabitants of the mucosal surfaces of the oral, gastrointestinal and genital tracts. Identification of these bacteria using conventional methods is generally difficult because of their complex transport and growth requirements and their fastidious and slow-growing nature. However, in recent years, the advancement of molecular techniques has provided much improved identification and differentiation of closely related Actinomyces species. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of the PCR technique in the diagnosis of genital Actinomyces in comparison with culturing and Papanicolaou (Pap) smear microscopy. Multiple sampling was conducted from 200 women using smear microscopy, culturing and PCR. Cyto-brushes were smeared on glass slides and stained using the routine Pap technique. Culturing was performed from a sterile swab, and Actinomyces were determined using the BBL Crystal ANR ID kit. PCR was performed from a second swab, and the Actinomyces type was determined using type-specific primers designed in our laboratory. Only one vaginal fluid sample (0.5%) revealed Actinomyces-like organisms on Pap smear examination. Actinomyces were detected in nine samples (4.5%) using the BBL Crystal ANR ID kit. Using PCR, eight samples (4%) were found positive for Actinomyces. No specimens that gave positive results by Pap smear microscopy and culturing could be confirmed by PCR. Pap smear microscopy and culturing were both found to have zero sensitivity for Actinomyces. PCR appears to be a sensitive and reliable diagnostic method for the detection of Actinomyces, which are difficult to cultivate from genital samples. PCR can be used for diagnostic confirmation in cases diagnosed by conventional methods, to prevent false-positive results.