Acceptability of self-collection of specimens for HPV DNA testing in an urban population

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2005 Oct;14(8):721-8. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2005.14.721.


Purpose: To assess the acceptability of self-collection of specimens for human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing and to explore whether use of self-collected specimens would increase intention to participate in regular screening among low-income, inner-city, minority women.

Methods: A written survey was administered to 172 women after they underwent gynecological examination and self-collection of a sample for HPV DNA testing.

Results: Participants agreed that ease of use (69%), less painful procedure (62%), "could do it myself" (56%), and privacy (52%) were desirable characteristics of the self-sampling procedure they performed. Most of the participants (57%) reported that there was nothing they did not like about self-sampling; however, the majority (68%) preferred the clinician-collected test. Those recruited through a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic were significantly more likely than those recruited at a cancer screening clinic (57% vs. 24%), those with some or more college education were significantly more likely than those with less education (43% vs. 26%), and those who were not Hispanic were significantly more likely than those who were Hispanic (49% vs. 28%) to prefer the self-collected test. Although most women (47%) reported that they would be most likely to attend regular screening if tested by a clinician during a pelvic examination, 21% asserted that self-collection at home would increase their likelihood of participation in screening.

Conclusions: Although most of the predominantly Hispanic, low-income, uninsured, and recently screened women in the study preferred clinician-collected HPV tests to self-collected sampling, self-sampling is acceptable to the majority and may increase the likelihood of participation in cervical cancer screening programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Poverty
  • Self Care* / methods
  • Specimen Handling* / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Vaginal Smears / methods*
  • Women's Health


  • DNA, Viral