The Acceptability of Self-Sampled Screening for HPV DNA: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


Objective: To examine whether self-sampled cervical screening for human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA is acceptable and whether women prefer self-sampling to clinician-based sampling

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Data sources: A total of 37 primary studies were obtained through a comprehensive search of six electronic bibliographic databases from 1986 to 2014 and other sources. Search keywords included “HPV,” “screening,” “DNA testing,” “vaginal testing,” “self-collected specimen,” “self-collected sample,” “self-sampling,” “self-screening,” “preferences,” and “acceptability.”

Review methods: Studies eligible for analysis included those that had participants perform self-sampling, evaluated participant acceptance of or preference for self-sampled vaginal HPV DNA, and reported data to calculate an effect size. There were no exclusion criteria for publication status or geographical location. Meta-analytic methods were used to quantitatively synthesise effect sizes across studies.

Results: The 37 studies included 18,516 female participants from 24 countries across five continents. Overall, there was a high level of acceptability of self-sampling among the participants. Participants reported preference for self-sampling over clinician sampling due to attractive characteristics such as ease and privacy.

Conclusions: The overall acceptability of self-sampled cervical screening, coupled with economic and effective care, provides opportunities for expanding screening services. Importantly, this can provide a creative screening alternative for women who do not participate in traditional cytological screening and may ultimately reduce health disparities and prevent cervical disease.


Nelson, E. J., Maynard, B. R., Loux, T., Fatla, J., Gordon, R., & Arnold, L. D. (2016). The acceptability of self-sampled screening for HPV DNA: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sexually Transmitted Infections. Advance online publication. doi:10.1136/sextrans-2016-052609