Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Can HPV Self-Testing Increase Screening Rates?

Sex Transm Dis; ePub 2017 Jul 24; Smith, et al

Human papillomavirus (HPV) self-testing has the potential to reach a broad segment of infrequently screened women in the US, a recent study found. To assess this intervention among high-risk women in the US that included self-testing through population-based recruitment, mailed kit delivery and return by mail, and results delivery to telephone, 429 women without a Papanicolaou (Pap) test in 4 or more years were recruited from the general population. Participants aged 30 to 65 years were mailed a kit to self-collect a cervicovaginal sample at home, return the sample by mail, and receive HPV results by telephone, with referral to follow-up cytological Pap testing at a local clinic. Researchers found:

  • ~Two-thirds of participants returned a self-collected sample; 15% tested HPV DNA positive.
  • Women with HPV self-test-positive results reported higher rates of follow-up PAP tests compared to those with self-test negative results (82% vs 51%).
  • No demographic differences were found in self-test return rate of HPV positivity.
  • Most women had “mostly positive” overall thoughts about the self-test.


Smith J, Des Marais AC, Deal AM, et al. Mailed human papillomavirus self-collection with Papanicolaou test referral for infrequency screened women in the United States. [Published online ahead of print July 24, 2017]. Sex Transm Dis. doi:10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000681.