Background/Purpose Under-utilization of Papanicolaou (Pap) smear causes a gap in the prevention of cervical neoplasms. A prospective population-based study was conducted investigating whether a self-sampling human papillomavirus (HPV) test was feasible for under-users of Pap smear and factors associated with under-screening in Taiwan. Methods Women not having Pap smear screening for > 5 years were invited to participate in this study. Invitation letters and educational brochures were mailed to 4% of randomly selected eligible women from Taoyuan City, Taiwan, and responders received an HPV self-sampling kit. Those with HPV-positive results were recalled for a Pap smear and colposcopy. Results Between March 2010 and June 2012, 10,693 women were invited, 354 responded (3.3%), and 282 (2.6%) gave valid informed consent, answered the questionnaire, and submitted HPV samples. The median age of enrolled women was 48.1 years. Forty-seven women (16.7%) had a positive HPV test, and 14 women accepted further survey to find two CIN2+. Another two cases of CIN2+ were identified from a national registry database. The cost of direct mailing self-samplers was less than that done on request (from NT$434,866 to NT$164,229, response rate of 5% to 15%, respectively, versus NT$683,957 for detecting 1 CIN2+). Reasons for not attending screening included lack of time, embarrassment, assumed low risk, fear of positive results, and perceived potential pain. Among the responders, 90.8% found the method acceptable. Conclusion Our study indicated that different approaches (e.g., direct mailing self-samplers to under-users and/or various educational interventions) must be explored to improve coverage in populations with culture characteristics similar to Taiwan.
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