INTRODUCTION: Nepal has one of the highest cervical cancer rates in South Asia. Only a few studies in populations from urban areas have investigated type specific distribution of human papillomavirus (HPV) in Nepali women. Data on high-risk HPV (HR-HPV) types are not currently available for rural populations in Nepal. We aimed to assess the distribution of HR- HPV among rural Nepali women while assessing self-collected and clinician-collected cervico-vaginal specimens as sample collection methods for HPV screening.<br /><br />METHODS: Study participants were recruited during a health camp conducted by Nepal Fertility Care Center in Achham District of rural far western Nepal. Women of reproductive age completed a socio-demographic and clinical questionnaire, and provided two specimens; one cervical-vaginal specimen using a self-collection method and another cervical specimen collected by health camp auxiliary nurse midwives during a pelvic examination. All samples were tested for 14 different HR-HPV mRNA and also specific for HPV16/18/45 mRNA.<br /><br />RESULTS: Of 261 women with both clinician- and self-collected cervical samples, 25 tested positive for HR-HPV, resulting in an overall HR-HPV prevalence of 9.6% (95% confidence Interval [CI]: 6.3-13.8). The overall Kappa value assessing agreement between clinician- and self-collected tests was 0.62 (95% CI: 0.43-0.81), indicating a "good" level of agreement. Abnormal cytology was reported for 8 women. One woman identified with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and 7 women with high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL). Seven of the 8 women tested positive for HR-HPV (87.5%) in clinician-collected samples and 6 in self-collected samples (75.0%).<br /><br />CONCLUSION: This is the first study to assess HR-HPV among rural Nepali women. Self-collected sampling methods should be the subject of additional research in Nepal for screening HR-HPV, associated with pre-cancer lesions and cancer, in women in rural areas with limited access to health services.
Johnson, D. C., Bhatta, M. P., Smith, J. S., Kempf, M. C., Broker, T. R., Vermund, S. H., … Shrestha, S. (2014). Assessment of high-risk human papillomavirus infections using clinician- And self-collected cervical sampling methods in rural women from far Western Nepal. PLoS ONE, 9(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0101255