Testing for HPV infection has recently been introduced into cervical screening programs. The researchers investigated barriers to accessing and absorbing information and factors that influence information needs among women undergoing HPV tests.

Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 27 women who had HPV tests performed in a colposcopy clinic as part of the follow-up of low-grade abnormal cytology or post-treatment for CIN.

Factors influencing women’s HPV information needs were: concerns surrounding abnormal cytology or diagnosis of CIN; the amount of information provided about HPV; awareness HPV is sexually transmitted; previous negative health care experience(s); and the HPV test concerning other life events. The timing of delivery of HPV information was crucial for women absorbing or remembering the information given; information needed to be provided in stages rather than all together.

The study concluded that the amount and timing of delivery of HPV information require careful consideration. Significant barriers exist to accessing and absorbing HPV information, which, unless addressed, could have severe implications in terms of women’s comprehension of HPV tests. Given the expanding use of HPV testing within cervical screening, further research on HPV-related information issues is needed.

Reference: https://srh.bmj.com/content/41/2/134