Collection devices for human papillomavirus

J Fam Pract. 1999 Jul;48(7):531-5.


Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing has relied to date on samples collected by experienced health professionals. Self-administered testing devices could allow HPV testing to occur in large-scale epidemiologic studies of primary care screening populations. The purpose of this study is to determine whether a self-collection device for cervicovaginal HPV infection could be developed.

Methods: A prospective randomized trial of a consecutive sampling of 93 women, 18 years or older, receiving routine cervical cancer screening and colposcopy in the urban gynecologic clinics in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were randomized into 2 arms. Women in arm 1 used a self-administered tampon before the physician-directed swabs of the cervix; in arm 2, women underwent the physician-directed swab testing before using the self-administered tampon. The concordance of HPV DNA positivity between sampling methods detected by a Hybrid Capture HPV tube test for both low- and high-risk types of HPV was the main outcome measure.

Results: The concordance rate (ie, women whose cultures were classified as negative on both tests or positive on both tests) for arms 1 and 2 were similar: 78.3% and 80.9%, respectively.

Conclusions: The tampon was equivalent to the physician-directed swab in HPV detection and suggests its feasibility in long-term primary care studies of screening populations.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomaviridae* / classification
  • Papillomaviridae* / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae* / isolation & purification
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Administration
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Serotyping
  • Tampons, Surgical
  • Tumor Virus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Vaginal Smears / instrumentation*
  • Vaginal Smears / methods
  • Vaginal Smears / standards


  • DNA, Viral