Background Aboriginal women experience disproportionately higher rates of cervical cancer mortality yet are less likely to participate in screening for early detection. This study sought to determine whether a community-based HPV self-sampling service model can effectively recruit never-screened and under-screened Aboriginal women to participate in cervical cancer screening; assess the clinical outcomes; and explore the acceptability of the model from the perspective of the participants.
Methods Aboriginal women aged 25-69 years of age were recruited from eight rural and remote communities in New South Wales, Australia to participate in HPV self-sampling via a community-based service model. Outcome measures were: number of women screened by HPV self-sampling, their prior cervical screening status (under-screened or never-screened), clinical outcomes and participation in follow-up pathways of care, and satisfaction with the service model.
Results In total, 215 women conducted a HPV self-sampling test and 200 evaluation surveys were completed. One-fifth of participants (n=46) were never-screened and one-third (n=69) were under-screened. Many were unsure of their screening status. Nine women were HPV 16/18 positive and eight had completed all follow up by the conclusion of the study. A further 30 women were HPV other positive of which 14 had completed follow up at the conclusion of the study. Satisfaction with the HPV self-sampling kit, the process of self-sampling and the service model was high (>92% satisfied on all items). Many women had difficulty understanding their official HPV results and placed high importance on the nurse explaining it to them.
Conclusions A community-based service model that respects Women’s Business can effectively recruit under-screened and never-screened Aboriginal women to complete cervical cancer screening. Furthermore, this service model supports them to complete recommended follow-up care and engage with their local existing health services.