Human Papillomavirus Infection in Women Who Submit Self-collected Vaginal Swabs After Internet Recruitment

Erik J. Nelson, John Hughes, J. Michael Oakes, Bharat Thyagarajan, James S. Pankow, Shalini L. Kulasingam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Submission of vaginal samples collected at home could remove barriers that women face in getting screened for cervical cancer. From December 2013 to January 2014, women aged 21–30 years were recruited online to participate in either (1) self-collected testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and an online survey, or (2) an online survey regarding their perceptions of self-collected testing for HPV infection. Demographics, risk factors, testing perceptions, and satisfaction with self-collected testing were assessed with online questionnaires. Women who performed self-collection were sent a home sampling kit by US mail, which was returned via US mail for HPV testing. A total of 197 women were enrolled, with 130 completing the online survey and 67 participating in both the survey and self-collection. Of the 67 women who were sent kits, 62 (92.5 %) were returned for testing. Sixty kits contained a sample sufficient for testing. The overall prevalence of HPV infection was 17.8 %, however 6 women (9.7 %) were infected with >1 type of HPV. Women who self-collected a sample reported more favorable attributes of self-collection compared to women who only participated in the online survey, including ease of sampling (87.1 vs. 18.9 %), no pain during sampling (72.6 vs. 5.6 %), and lack of embarrassment (67.7 vs. 12.9 %). A high prevalence of HPV infection was demonstrated among women recruited via the internet. Online recruitment and at home screening methods have the potential to engage women in screening by offering an approach that might be more acceptable to women of different backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-386
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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