Objectives. To determine the post-procedure acceptability of self-collecting a vaginal swab for HPV testing among a highly impoverished and geographically isolated population of medically underserved Black women residing in the Mississippi Delta. Further, to test correlates of reporting that self-collection is preferred over Pap testing. Finally, to determine the prevalence of any of 13 high-risk HPV types among this population and the correlates of testing positive.

Methods. Eighty-eight women were recruited from two churches located in different towns of the Mississippi Delta. After completing a survey, women were provided instructions for self-collecting a cervico-vaginal swab and completing a post-collection survey. Specimens were tested for 13 oncogenic HPV types. Due to the exploratory nature of the study, significance was defined by a 0.15 alpha-level.

Results. Comfort levels with self-collection were high: 78.4% indicated a preference for self-collecting a specimen compared to Pap testing. Overall, 24 women (28.7%) tested positive for one or more of the 13 HPV types. Significant associations with testing positive were found for women having sex with females (P = 0.09), those never having an abnormal Pap (P = 0.06), younger women (P = 0.10), those with greater fatalism scores (P = 0.006), and those having less trust in doctors (P = 0.001).

Conclusions. Black rural women from the deep-south are generally comfortable self-collecting cervico-vaginal swabs for HPV testing. Given that nearly 30% tested positive for oncogenic HPV, and that fatalism as well a lack of trust in doctors predicted prevalence, a reasonable screening alternative to Pap testing may be community-based testing for HPV using self-collected vaginal swabs.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Preventive Medicine Reports, v. 7, p. 227-231.

© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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Funding Information

This project was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 1U48DP001932-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).