Objective: To determine the acceptability of self-collected versus provider-collected sampling among women participating in public sector HPV-based cervical cancer screening in El Salvador.
Methods: Two thousand women aged 30-49 years underwent self-collected and provider-collected sampling with careHPV between October 2012 and March 2013 (Qiagen, Gaithersburg, MD, USA). After sample collection, a random sample of women (n=518) were asked about their experience. Participants were questioned regarding sampling method preference, previous cervical cancer screening, HPV and cervical cancer knowledge, HPV risk factors, and demographic information.
Results: All 518 women approached to participate in this questionnaire study agreed and were enrolled, 27.8% (142 of 511 responding) of whom had not received cervical cancer screening within the past 3 years and were considered under-screened. Overall, 38.8% (n=201) preferred self-collection and 31.9% (n=165) preferred provider collection. Self-collection preference was associated with prior tubal ligation, HPV knowledge, future self-sampling preference, and future home-screening preference (P<0.05). Reasons for self-collection preference included privacy/embarrassment, ease, and less pain; reasons cited for provider-collection preference were result accuracy and provider knowledge/experience.
Conclusion: Self-sampling was found to be acceptable, therefore screening programs could consider offering this option either in the clinic or at home. Self-sampling at home may increase coverage in low-resource countries and reduce the burden that screening places upon clinical infrastructure.
Keywords: Acceptability; Cervical cancer; HPV; Latin America; Self-sampling.
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