Low-income and uninsured people with a cervix (PWC) are at the highest risk of being underscreened for cervical cancer. We evaluated the prevalence of high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) on home self-collected samples, as well as rates of in-clinic follow-up and risk factors associated with hrHPV positivity in this at-risk population.
My Body My Test 3 was conducted between 2016 and 2019 in North Carolina among individuals aged 25 to 64 years, overdue for cervical cancer screening, and with incomes of <250% of the US Federal Poverty Level. Our analytic sample included participants randomized to the self-collection arm who returned self-collected cervicovaginal brush samples for HPV testing (n = 329). Samples were tested for 14 hrHPV types by an HPV RNA assay and further genotyped for HPV-16 and HPV-18/45. We examined behavioral risk factors for hrHPV positivity using logistic regression and between-subject t tests.
High-risk HPV RNA prevalence was 16% (n = 52/329) in self-collected samples. Of the hrHPV-positive participants, 24 (46%) presented for in-clinic cervical cancer screening, compared with 56 (20%) of hrHPV-negative participants. Those with ≥2 sexual partners in the past year were twice as likely to be hrHPV positive in adjusted analyses (adjusted odds ratio, 2.00 [95% confidence interval, 1.03–3.88]). High-risk HPV-positive and HPV-negative participants had similar attitudes toward screening, with the exception of hrHPV-positive participants who reported a lower perceived risk of cervical cancer than those who were hrHPV negative (P < 0.05).
The hrHPV RNA prevalence was similar to findings in other underscreened PWC in the United States. Efforts to reach underscreened PWC are critical for cervical cancer prevention. Future studies aimed at home self-collection should address methods of increasing clinic attendance and completion of treatment among those with HPV-positive results.