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Impact of HPV sample self-collection for underscreened women in the renewed Cervical Screening Program

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Major changes will occur in the Australian National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) from 2017, following an extensive review (“Renewal”).1 In addition to a re-designed mainstream program (5-yearly human papillomavirus [HPV]-based screening with partial genotyping; colposcopy referral for women testing positive for HPV16/18; liquid-based cytology [LBC] triage for other oncogenic HPV types), it was also recommended that HPV testing on self-collected cervico-vaginal samples (“self-collection”) be funded for unscreened and underscreened women.2 Self-collection must be facilitated by a clinician who also offers mainstream cervical screening, and is likely to be restricted to women aged 30–74 years who have never been screened or are overdue for cervical screening by 2 years or more.3

Offering self-collection has increased screening participation among unscreened and underscreened women in several settings,4 and is seen as a potentially useful strategy for extending cervical screening to previously hard to reach groups. It is being introduced for this purpose in several countries, including the Netherlands.57 Recent international reviews have reported that HPV testing on self-collected samples was somewhat…

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