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.