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Feasibility of At-Home Self-Sampling for HPV Testing as an Appropriate Screening Strategy for Nonparticipants in Switzerland: Preliminary Results of the DEPIST Study

Catarino, Rosa Jr MD1; Vassilakos, Pierre MD2; Stadali-Ullrich, Heidrun MD1; Royannez-Drevard, Isabelle1; Guillot, Cécile1; Petignat, Patrick PD, MD1

Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease: January 2015 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 - p 27–34
doi: 10.1097/LGT.0000000000000051
Original Articles: Cervix and HPV Clinical Research

Objective: Nonattendees to cervical cancer screening are at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. This study assessed women’s willingness to perform a home-based self-sampling for human papillomavirus testing (Self-HPV) and explored the feasibility of establishing a home-based Self-HPV screening strategy in Switzerland.

Materials and Methods: Underscreened women (n = 158) who had not underwent a Pap test in the preceding 3 years were recruited between September 2011 and September 2013. Participants completed 2 questionnaires evaluating reasons for non-attendance at a screening program, sociodemographic issues, and satisfaction with and acceptability of the Self-HPV. Descriptive data and multivariate logistic regression were used to identify variables associated with women’s willingness to perform at-home self-sampling for HPV testing.

Results: Lack of time because of work or childcare was the most common reason for nonattendance at a screening program. One hundred six women (82%) preferred the Self-HPV because it is easy to perform, convenient, comfortable, and private. Women were more likely to accept the Self-HPV as a future screening strategy if they had missed cervical cancer screening in the past because of lack of time (odds ratio [OR] = 6.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.6–23.6; p < .01). Twenty-six women felt pain during self-sampling. Previous negative experiences with screening and stress during sampling were associated with higher risk for pain (OR = 7.14, 95% CI = 2.0–25.3, p < .01 and OR = 4.73, 95% CI = 1.5–14.5, p < .01, respectively).

Conclusions: The Self-HPV was accepted by nonattendees of cervical cancer screening programs. Self-sampling may promote screening among the unscreened and underscreened population of women in Switzerland while overcoming some practical barriers.

The Self-HPV may be an effective intervention, which increases participation in cervical cancer screening in Switzerland while overcoming some practical barriers.

1Division of Gynecology, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Geneva University Hospitals; and 2Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Geneva, Switzerland

Reprint requests to: Rosa Catarino, M.D., Division of Gynecology, University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail:

This work was supported by Oncosuisse/Krebsforschung Schweiz (Grant KFS 02691-08-2010).

The authors have declared they have no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2015 by the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology