Self-collected vaginal swabs for HPV screening: An exploratory study of rural Black Mississippi women

Richard A. Crosby, Michael E. Hagensee, Rebecca Fisher, Lindsay R. Stradtman, Tom Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-231
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 1U48DP001932-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the CDC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors


  • Cervical cancer screening
  • HPV testing
  • Rural
  • Self-collection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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