Self-collected human papillomavirus testing acceptability: comparison of two self-sampling modalities

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Mar;20(3):397-402. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2010.2189. Epub 2011 Feb 25.


Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing can be used as a primary test for cervical cancer screening. HPV self-sampling has the potential to replace physician/nurse sampling. Our objective was to compare the acceptability of two self-sampling methods among 205 women undergoing an excisional procedure for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) at the European Institute of Oncology (IEO).

Methods: One hundred eleven patients were given a Hybrid Capture (HC) Cervical Sampler™ (Qiagen, Hilden, Germany), and 94 received a self-lavaging device, the Delphi® Screener (Delphi Bioscience, Scherpenzeel, The Netherlands), both with written instructions. Self-sampling was performed just before the clinician-collected cervical sample. Women responded to questions using 5-point ordinal scales on the general acceptability of self-sampling and the physical comfort, embarrassment, pain, and difficulty experienced. Participants were also asked whether they prefer self-sampling or clinician sampling.

Results: Both self-sampling methods were generally accepted with a significantly high score (p = 0.005) and significantly lower embarrassment (p = 0.042) in favor of the Delphi Screener. Both self-sampling methods were physically well accepted, not painful, and easy to perform. Most women (n = 117, 68%) preferred the self-sampled compared to the clinician-sampled test, with a significantly higher proportion in the Delphi Screener group (n = 59, 77.6%) compared to those using the HC Sampler (n = 58, 60.4%) (p = 0.021).

Conclusions: The present study shows that self-sampling for HPV testing is favorably received by women. A sampling device specifically developed for self-sampling, such as the Delphi Screener, shows the highest degree of satisfaction. A well-accepted HPV sampling method could be especially useful for women who do not take part in cervical screening or in settings where organized screening is not fully implemented.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Self-Examination / psychology
  • Self-Examination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Specimen Handling / psychology
  • Specimen Handling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vaginal Smears / psychology
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult