Cervical Cancer Prevention and High-Risk HPV Self-Sampling Awareness and Acceptability among Women Living with HIV: A Qualitative Investigation from the Patients’ and Providers’ Perspectives

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Current Oncology








Cancer prevention; Cervical cancer; Cervical cancer screening; HR-HPV self-sampling; Human papillomavirus; Women living with HIV


Routine cervical cancer screening is important for women living with HIV (WLH) due to the greater incidence and persistence of high-risk HPV (HR-HPV) infection. HR-HPV self-sampling has been proposed to overcome barriers to in-office cervical cancer screening in underserved populations. However, little is known about baseline knowledge of HR-HPV and the acceptability of HR-HPV self-sampling among WLH. This paper describes WLH’s experiences and needs regarding cervical cancer screening, specifically HR-HPV self-sampling, and seeks to reconcile their experiences with the views of their providers. In total, 10 providers and 39 WLH participated in semi-structured interviews and group discussions, respectively. Knowledge of cervical cancer and HR-HPV was generally limited among WLH; when present, it was often due to personal experience of or proximity to someone affected by cervical cancer. Most WLH were not familiar with HR-HPV self-sampling but, despite some of the providers’ skepticism, expressed their willingness to participate in a mail-based HR-HPV self-sampling intervention and highlighted convenience, ease of use, and affordability as facilitators to the uptake of HR-HPV self-sampling. The experiences identified can be used to guide patient-centered communication aimed at improving cervical cancer knowledge and to inform interventions, such as HR-HPV self-sampling, designed to increase cervical cancer screening among under-screened WLH.