Can Human Papillomavirus DNA Self-sampling be an Acceptable and Reliable Option for Cervical Cancer Screening in Female Sex Workers?

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Abstract

Background:

The causal relation between human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer has enabled HPV self-sampling to be envisaged as a possible screening method.

Objectives:

The aim of this study is to explore the acceptability and reliability of HPV DNA self-sampling as an alternative option for cervical screening among female sex workers.

Methods:

Sixty-eight participants carried out self-sampling for HPV testing, gave a clinician-obtained sample for HPV testing, and a Papanicolaou test. After the samplings, the participants were questioned on the acceptability of the tests.

Results:

Most participants (65.6%) preferred to adopt HPV DNA self-sampling in the future; in particular, those without previous experience of Papanicolaou tests marginally significantly preferred self-sampling (86.7%, P = .055). The overall crude agreement in HPV detection rates between clinician and HPV DNA self-sampling was 85.3% (58/68), with a κ of 0.69 (95% confidence interval, 0.51–0.87). The sensitivity and specificity of self-collected samples were 66.7% and 66.1%, respectively, and the positive and negative predicted values were 24.0% and 92.5%, respectively. The prevalence of HPV was slightly higher in self-collected samples (39.7%, 27/68) than in clinician-collected samples (36.8%, 25/68). The participants expressed positive attitudes toward self-sampling but were less confident in their skills of self-sampling compared with clinicians (70.6% versus 91.2%).

Conclusions:

The findings showed that self-sampling could be incorporated into current cervical cancer screening approaches.

Implications for Practice:

Self-sampling could potentially increase compliance to cervical cancer screening and thus reduce the morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer. Further research and education on self-sampling will be required for women of diverse backgrounds.

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