Feasibility and Acceptability of Smartphone-Based Cervical Cancer Screening Among HIV-Positive Women in Western Kenya

JCO Glob Oncol. 2021 May;7:686-693. doi: 10.1200/GO.21.00013.


Purpose: Adjunct cervical cancer screening methods are under evaluation to improve the diagnostic accuracy of human papillomavirus (HPV)-based screening in low- and middle-income countries. We evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of smartphone-based cervicography among HPV-positive women living with HIV (WLWH) in Western Kenya.

Methods: HPV-positive WLWH of 25-49 years of age enrolled in a clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT04191967) had digital images of the cervix taken using a smartphone by a nonphysician provider following visual inspection with acetic acid. All participants had colposcopy-directed biopsy before treatment. Cervical images were evaluated by three off-site colposcopists for quality, diagnostic utility, and assigned a presumed diagnosis. We determined the proportion of images rates as low, medium, or high quality, interobserver agreement using Cohen's Kappa statistic, and the off-site colposcopist's sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or worse (CIN2+) compared with histopathology. Acceptability was evaluated using a questionnaire.

Results: One hundred sixty-four HPV-positive WLWH underwent cervicography during the study period. Mean age was 37.3 years. Images from the first 94 participants were evaluated by off-site colposcopists, with a majority (70.9%) rated as high quality. Off-site colposcopists had a sensitivity ranging from 21.4% (95% CI, 0.06 to 0.43) to 35.7% (95% CI, 0.26 to 0.46) and a specificity between 85.5% (95% CI, 0.81 to 0.90) to 94.9% (95% CI, 0.92 to 0.98) for diagnosis of CIN2+ based compared with histopathology. The majority of women, 99.4%, were comfortable having an image of their cervix taken as part of screening.

Conclusion: Cervicography by a nonphysician provider as an adjunct to HPV-based screening among WLWH in a low- and middle-income country setting is feasible and acceptable. However, low sensitivity for diagnosis of CIN2+ by off-site expert colposcopists highlights the limitations of cervicography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia*
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Smartphone
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms* / diagnosis

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04191967