Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether self- and clinician-collected samples are comparable for human papillomavirus (HPV) detection.
Study design: Three hundred seventy-four women aged 23 to 32 (population 1) and 211 women aged 18 to 25 (population 2) contributed self-collected vaginal and clinician-collected cervical and vulvovaginal samples for HPV DNA testing. Eighty-six women mailed in self-collected samples.
Results: Agreement between self-collected vaginal and clinician-collected combined cervical/vulvovaginal samples was excellent (population 1:92.0%, kappa = 0.81; population 2: 96.4%, kappa = 0.88), but self-collected samples were more concordant with clinician-collected cervical samples in population 2 (kappa = 0.84) than population 1 (kappa = 0.65) (P = 0.01). Age-adjusted HPV prevalence was slightly lower in mailed-in (21.5%) than in-clinic self-collected samples (26.8%).
Conclusions: The combined clinician-collected cervical/vulvovaginal sample is most sensitive for detecting all female genital tract HPV infections. HPV concordance between cervical and vaginal samples may be better for newer infections. Larger studies are needed to determine whether mailed-in self-samples are as effective as those collected in a clinical setting.