Two-thirds of women want to test themselves for HPV, study finds

Two-thirds of women who took part in a self-smear cervical test study say they would continue to use the method.

Massey University's Naomi Brewer says there are many barriers that prevent people from getting their smear test, which is due once every three years.

"It can be that the cost of getting to the doctor is prohibitive, they may find it difficult to find childcare, get time off work."

Smear tests detect the presence of abnormal cells, which could lead to the development of cevical cancer.

If abnormal cells are found they can be treated early and cancer treatment could be avoided.

"Being screened is the best way of preventing cervical cancer in women who have not been vaccinated [against Human Pamplona Virus]," Dr Brewer said.

The study involved 56 women in Porirua being given the chance to use a self-sampling device to take a sample.

Once it was over 66 percent of the participants said they would prefer self-sampling to the normal test and the majority of participants would recommend using one of the self-sampling devices to a friend.

"If you're able to take the sample yourself then I think women will find that less embarrassing and more comfortable," Dr Brewer said.

A larger trial of self-sampling has since been developed and will be conducted in collaboration with the Waitemata District Health Board.