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Psychosexual distress following routine primary human papillomavirus testing: a longitudinal evaluation within the English Cervical Screening Programme
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  • Kirsty Bennett,
  • Jo Waller,
  • Emily McBride,
  • Alice Forster,
  • Giorgio Di Gessa,
  • Henry Kitchener,
  • Laura Marlow
Kirsty Bennett
University College London
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Jo Waller
King's College London
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Emily McBride
UCL
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Alice Forster
UCL
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Giorgio Di Gessa
University College London
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Henry Kitchener
The University of Manchester
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Laura Marlow
King's College London
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Abstract

Objective: To assess psychosexual distress among women receiving different human papillomavirus (HPV) and cytology results in the context of the English HPV primary screening pilot, shortly after women received their results and 6 and 12-months later. Design: Longitudinal, between-groups study. Setting: Five sites in England where primary HPV testing was piloted. Population: Women aged 24-65 years (n=1133) who had taken part in the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. Methods: Women were sent a postal questionnaire soon after receiving their screening results and 6 and 12-months later. Data were analysed using linear regression models to compare psychosexual outcomes between groups receiving six possible screening results. Main Outcome Measures: Psychosexual distress, assessed using six items from the Psychosocial Effects of Abnormal Pap Smears Questionnaire (PEAPS-Q). Results: At all three time-points, there was an association between screening result and overall psychosexual distress (all p<0.001). At baseline, psychosexual distress was significantly higher among women with HPV and normal cytology (B=1.15, 95% CI:0.961-1.337), HPV and abnormal cytology (B=1.02, 95% CI:0.783-1.266) and persistent HPV (B=0.90, 95% CI:0.703-1.102) compared with the control group (all p<0.001). At 6 and 12-month follow-up the pattern of results was similar, but coefficients were smaller. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that while simply participating in HPV testing does not appear to cause psychosexual distress, receiving an HPV-positive result does, particularly in the short-term. Developing interventions to minimise the psychosexual burden of testing HPV-positive will be essential to avoiding unnecessary harm to the millions of women taking part in cervical screening.

Peer review status:Published

09 May 2020Submitted to BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
12 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
12 May 2020Assigned to Editor
22 May 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
09 Jun 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
24 Jun 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major
21 Jul 20201st Revision Received
24 Jul 2020Assigned to Editor
24 Jul 2020Submission Checks Completed
24 Jul 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
29 Jul 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
04 Aug 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
05 Aug 20202nd Revision Received
05 Aug 2020Assigned to Editor
05 Aug 2020Submission Checks Completed
05 Aug 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
06 Aug 2020Editorial Decision: Accept
11 Aug 2020Published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 10.1111/1471-0528.16460