UK – NHS gives women Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV) home testing kits to cut cancer deaths

More than 31,000 women will be offered kits to carry out smear tests in the privacy and convenience of their own homes in a trial, NHS England has announced.

The swab tests will be posted to women or given out by a GP to increase take-up of screening for the Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer.

The home swab is a simple way for women to do the test themselves, rather than have one done for them by a general practice nurse.

They will go to women aged 25-64 years who are 15 months overdue for a check and live in Barnet, Camden, Islington, Newham and Tower Hamlets where screening appointment attendance is low.

It is the first time home smear tests have been trialled in England and is being rolled out through 166 GP practices, as part of the national NHS Cervical Screening Programme.

Research has shown that embarrassment is often a key underlying reason for women not attending a smear test appointment, as well as cultural barriers and fear about what it involves…