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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED KINGDOM: Acceptability and Response to a Postal Survey Using Self-Taken Samples for HPV Vaccine Impact Monitoring
Katy Sinka; and others
January 12, 2012
Sexually Transmitted Infections Vol. 87: P. 548-552 (12..11) -

The current study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptance of a postal survey to measure prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) and monitor vaccine impact, using self- collected specimens from young women who do not attend their first cervical screening appointment.

Focus groups were used to help identify factors that would influence survey acceptability, and the kits were mailed to a nationally representative sample of unscreened women. Overall response rate, the influence of different specimen types (urine or vaginal swab), and the receipt of a reminder letter on participation were calculated. Specimens were tested anonymously for HPV; individual test results were not provided.

Of 5,500 kits mailed, 725 (13.2 percent) were returned; 52 women actively opted out. A higher return rate was seen for urine kits (13.7 percent vs. 12 percent) and among those who received a reminder letter (15.5 percent vs. 12.2 percent). Deprivation influenced response rates, which were 10.3 percent in the most deprived quintile vs. 16.2 percent in the least. Overall weighted HPV prevalence was 35.9 percent (40.0 percent from swab collection and 31.9 percent from urine).

"Some women were willing to participate in anonymized postal testing. However, the low uptake means that HPV prevalence results are difficult to interpret for ongoing surveillance," the study authors concluded. "Monitoring HPV vaccine impact [outside] the cervical screening program remains challenging."