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J Clin Virol. 2013 Jan;56(1):52-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Sep 25.

Vaginal self-sampling without preservative for human papillomavirus testing shows good sensitivity.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Skane University Hospital, Lund University, Sweden.

Erratum in

  • J Clin Virol. 2013 Nov;58(3):600.



Several strategies have been used to reach non-attending women in organized cervical-cancer-screening programs, with varying success. Self-sampling (SS) for HPV is effective for increasing coverage in screening programs, but requires expensive commercial sampling kits.


We aimed to evaluate if vaginal SS, without commercial preservatives was adequate for HPV testing.


Women with abnormal cervical smears as determined from the organized screening program were invited to a colposcopy clinic. The 121 women were asked to insert a cotton swab into the vagina and rotate it, put the cotton swab into a sterile cryotube, break the upper part of the stick and put the cap on. Thereafter, the gynaecologist collected a liquid based cytology (LBC) sample. The presence of HPV-types in SS and LBC samples was analysed with PCR and luminex-based typing.


High-risk-HPV (hr-HPV) DNA was found in 65 of the tested 108 SS (60%; 95% CI 0.50-0.69), whereas LBC found hr-HPV in 64/108 samples (59%; 95% CI 0.49-0.69). The agreement between sampling with SS and LBC was good, kappa value 0.67 (95% CI; 0.53-0.81). The sensitivity for SS with hr-HPV to find HSIL was 77% (95% CI; 62-91%), specificity 47% (95% CI; 35-59%) [corrected] and the sensitivity for LBC with hr-HPV to find HSIL was 79% (95% CI 66-93%), specificity 50% (95% CI; 38-62%). [corrected]


This new vaginal self-sampling method detects hr-HPV-infections with similar sensitivity as a cervical smear taken by a gynaecologist. This self-sampling method is cost-effective and well tolerated, and the kit is suitable for regular mail transport.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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