The World Health Organization has recommended that testing for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) (hrHPV) infection be incorporated into cervical screening programs in all settings worldwide. In many high-burden, low-income countries, it will not be feasible to achieve high cervical screening coverage using hrHPV assays that require clinician-collected samples. We conducted the first evaluation of self-collected vaginal specimens compared with clinician-collected cervical specimens for the detection of hrHPV infection using the Xpert HPV test. Women aged 30 to 54 years attending two well-woman clinics in Papua New Guinea were invited to participate and provided self-collected vaginal and clinician-collected cervical cytobrush specimens. Both specimen types were tested at the point of care by using the Xpert HPV test. Women were given their cervical test result the same day. Those with a positive hrHPV test and positive examination upon visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid were offered same-day cervical cryotherapy. A total of 1,005 women were enrolled, with 124 (12.3%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 10.3%, 14.4%) being positive for any hrHPV infection. There was a 99.4% overall percent agreement (OPA) between vaginal and cervical tests for HPV-16 (95% CI, 98.9%, 99.9%), a 98.5% OPA for HPV-18/45 (95% CI, 97.7%, 99.3%), a 94.4% OPA for other hrHPV infections (95% CI, 92.9%, 95.9%), and a 93.4% OPA for all hrHPV types combined (95% CI, 91.8%, 95.0%). Self-collected vaginal specimens had excellent agreement with clinician-collected cervical specimens for the detection of hrHPV infection using the Xpert HPV test. This approach provides for the first time an opportunity to incorporate point-of-care hrHPV testing into clinical cervical screening algorithms in high-burden, low-income settings.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work, including the efforts of A. J. Vallely, was funded by Department of Health | National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (1013209).