Women who participated in the HOME project were contacted about their interest before they were sent initial HPV screening kits. Each DIY test included self-test instructions from either the device manufacturer (control group) or HOME researchers, who included photos and definitions (intervention group).

Eighty women—78 percent of the pool—returned their screening kits to the researchers for testing. Return rates were similar between randomized intervention and control groups, and among those who returned their results, 26 percent had an oncogenic HPV type detected in their sample.

“The return rate was so much higher than we expected,” Reiter said. “We thought maybe 30 or 40 percent of the women would send the tests back,  based on experiences in other countries.”

He said his team partnered with federally qualified health centers in southeast Ohio to digest the study’s results. Women who sent in a test were notified when their results were available and encouraged to make an appointment with their local health clinic to receive and talk over the numbers. Just 11 percent of women ended up having a follow-up Pap test to screen for cervical cancer, and additional testing was most common among those with the highest-risk HPV types detected in their sample.

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