A questionnaire study on the acceptability of self-sampling versus screening by clinicians for Group B Streptococcus

J Chin Med Assoc. 2016 Feb;79(2):83-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jcma.2015.08.005. Epub 2015 Sep 16.


Background: Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. In an effort to reduce the impact of this serious affliction, universal screening for GBS has been adopted in many countries. The objective of this study was to examine the acceptability of self-collected GBS swabs in a local population in Hong Kong.

Methods: This study is a cross-sectional questionnaire survey conducted in a tertiary teaching hospital. A total of 327 pregnant women who attended the antenatal clinic for GBS screening from April 2012 to May 2012 were included in our study. The acceptability of GBS self-screening and its associated factors were analyzed.

Results: Of these women, 200/320 (62.5%) participants preferred screening by healthcare workers, whereas only 18/320 (5.6%) preferred self-screening. The most common reasons why some participants preferred to be screened by clinicians were that professionals had greater knowledge, and the added worry about the accuracy of self-screening. 22/320 (69.4%) and 195/320 (60.9%) women believed that they felt comfortable enough to self-perform the vaginal swab and rectal swab respectively. Previous use of tampons was associated with higher perceived capability of self-performing the vaginal swab. Perceived capability to self-perform the rectovaginal swabs was associated with a willingness to self-perform the swabs (p < 0.001). The majority of women, 303/320 (94.7%), found the current practice of an additional clinic visit for GBS screening acceptable. However, 218/320 (68.1%) participants would like to undertake self-screening if they were given the chance to do so in the next pregnancy, and 187/320 (58.4%) would recommend others have self-screening for GBS as well.

Conclusion: Most women in the local population still preferred physician-collected samples for GBS screening, but they welcomed the option of self-screening in future pregnancies. Improved health education about the importance of GBS screening may improve the willingness of women to perform self-screening.

Keywords: Group B Streptococcus; patient preference; screening.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Specimen Handling
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires