Introduction of HPV testing for cervical cancer screening in Central America: the Scale-Up project

Francesca Holme, Jose Jeronimo, Francisco Maldonado, Claudia Camel, Manuel Sandoval, Benito Martinez-Granera, Mirna Montenegro, Jacqueline Figueroa, Rose Slavkovsky, Kerry A Thomson, Silvia de Sanjose
Preventive Medicine 2020 April 1, : 106076
The Scale-Up project introduced vaginal self-sampling and careHPV low-cost human papillomavirus (HPV) testing as the primary approach for cervical cancer screening in selected public health centers in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. We evaluate the country-specific accomplishments in screening: target-coverage, triage, and treatment. Between 2015 and 2018, cervical cancer screening was offered to women at least 30 years of age. Triage of HPV-positive women was based on visual inspection with acetic acid or Pap. Aggregated data included total women screened, use of self-sampling, age, time elapsed since last screening, HPV results, triage tests, triage results, and treatment. A total of 231,741 women were screened for HPV, representing 85.8% of the target populations within the project. HPV positivity was lower in Guatemala (12.4%) compared to Honduras and Nicaragua (14.5% and 14.2%, respectively, p<0.05). A follow-up triage test was completed for 84.2%, 85.8%, and 50.1% of HPV-positive women in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras, respectively. Of those with a positive triage test, 84.7%, 67.1%, and 58.8% were treated in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras, respectively. First-time screening was highest in Nicaragua (55.8%) where self-sampling was also widely used (97.1%). The Scale-Up project demonstrated that large-scale cervical cancer screening and treatment intervention in a high-burden, low-resource setting can be achieved. Self-sampling and ablative treatment were key to the project's achievements. Data monitoring, loss to follow-up, and triage methods of screen- positive women remain critical to full success.

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