Factors associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) test acceptability in primary screening for cervical cancer: A mixed methods research synthesis

Ovidiu Tatar, Erika Thompson, Anila Naz, Samara Perez, Gilla K. Shapiro, Kristina Wade, Gregory Zimet, Vladimir Gilca, Monika Janda, Jessica Kahn, Ellen Daley, Zeev Rosberger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Primary screening for cervical cancer is transitioning from the longstanding Pap smear towards implementation of an HPV-DNA test, which is more sensitive than Pap cytology in detecting high-risk lesions and offers greater protection against invasive cervical carcinomas. Based on these results, many countries are recommending and implementing HPV testing-based screening programs. Understanding what factors (e.g., knowledge, attitudes) will impact on HPV test acceptability by women is crucial for ensuring adequate public health practices to optimize cervical screening uptake. We used mixed methods research synthesis to provide a categorization of the relevant factors related to HPV primary screening for cervical cancer and describe their influence on women's acceptability of HPV testing. We searched Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Global Health and Web of Science for journal articles between January 1, 1980 and October 31, 2017 and retained 22 empirical articles. Our results show that while most factors associated with HPV test acceptability are included in the Health Belief Model and/or Theory of Planned Behavior (e.g., attitudes, knowledge), other important factors are not encompassed by these theoretical frameworks (e.g., health behaviors, negative emotional reactions related to HPV testing). The direction of influence of psychosocial factors on HPV test acceptability was synthesized based on 14 quantitative studies as: facilitators (e.g., high perceived HPV test benefits), barriers (e.g., negative attitudes towards increased screening intervals), contradictory evidence (e.g., sexual history) and no impact (e.g., high perceived severity of HPV infection). Further population-based studies are needed to confirm the impact of these factors on HPV-based screening acceptability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-50
Number of pages11
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Barriers
  • Facilitators
  • Human Papillomavirus DNA Tests
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Mass Screening
  • Mixed methods
  • Psychology
  • Psychosocial
  • Review
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms


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