Feasibility and acceptability of frequent vaginal self-sampling at home by Rwandan women at high risk of urogenital tract infections

Verwijs, Marijn C, Agaba, Stephen, Umulisa, Marie-Michele and van de Wijgert, Janneke HHM ORCID: 0000-0003-2728-4560
(2022) Feasibility and acceptability of frequent vaginal self-sampling at home by Rwandan women at high risk of urogenital tract infections. SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS, 98 (1). pp. 58-61.

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<h4>Objectives</h4>To establish temporal links between vaginal microbiota (VMB) data and incident clinical events, frequent longitudinal vaginal sampling is required. Self-collection of swabs at the participant's home may be useful to avoid overburdening research clinics and participants. One-off vaginal self-sampling for STI or cervical cancer screening programmes has been shown to be feasible and acceptable to women in multiple studies, including in sub-Saharan Africa, but the feasibility and acceptability of frequent longitudinal vaginal sampling in the context of VMB sequencing studies is unknown.<h4>Methods</h4>Twelve participants of a randomised clinical trial in Kigali, Rwanda, self-collected vaginal swabs three times a week for a month. We studied feasibility by comparing DNA concentrations, proportions of samples with >1000 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing reads and VMB composition outcomes of self-collected swabs with clinician-collected swabs. We evaluated the acceptability of self-collection using structured face-to-face interviews and a focus group discussion.<h4>Results</h4>The participants collected vaginal swabs at 131 different time points. One woman stopped self-sampling after one try due to a social harm. All self-sampled swabs generated >1000 rRNA amplicon sequencing reads, and the DNA concentration of self-sampled swabs and clinician-sampled swabs did not differ significantly (Kruskal-Wallis p=0.484). Self-sampled and clinician-sampled swabs generated similar VMB composition data. Participants reported feeling very comfortable during self-sampling (11/12; 91.7%) and that self-sampling had become easier over time (12/12; 100%). They mentioned reduced travel time and travel costs as advantages of self-sampling at home.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Frequent longitudinal vaginal sampling at home is feasible and acceptable to participants, even in the context of a low-resource setting, as long as adequate counselling is provided.<h4>Trial registration number</h4>NCT02459665.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Vagina, Humans, RNA, Ribosomal, 16S, Vaginal Smears, Specimen Handling, Risk Factors, Longitudinal Studies, Feasibility Studies, Adult, Patient Acceptance of Health Care, Rwanda, Female, Young Adult, Reproductive Tract Infections, Microbiota
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2021 15:48
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 23:00
DOI: 10.1136/sextrans-2020-054816
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3115564