The proposed research and training is designed to give Ms. Antoine hands-on experience in study design and management, PCR-based laboratory techniques, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, and presentation of results to the scientific community. Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection among women, and certain types are the etiologic agents of cervical cancers. We propose a cross-sectional study to examine risk factors for HPV infections in 18-24 year old females who date online. Two hundred women will be recruited through the internet and asked to mail in self-collected vaginal samples for HPV testing and sexual behavior questionnaires.
Our specific aims are: 1) To determine risk factors for type-specific HPV infections;2) To evaluate whether dry transport of self-collected vaginal swabs is a feasible alternative to wet transport for HPV testing;and 3) to assess attitudes about acceptability of self-collection, HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening in this population. While many risk factors for HPV infections in adolescent and young women are well-defined (including reports of new sex partners), it is unknown whether seeking partners via Internet dating or social networking websites increases the risk of infection. Data generated from this study will provide pilot data for a subsequent longitudinal study to evaluate whether 18 to 24 year women who date online are at an increased risk of acquiring new HPV infections. Furthermore, if feasible, dry transport of self-collected vaginal swabs for HPV testing could expand opportunities for using at-home self-collection kits to screen women in resource-poor settings or in difficult- to-reach populations. In these ways, mailed-in self-samples could increase screening coverage, leading to the improved early detection of cervical cancer.
Results from the proposed study will add new information concerning risk factors for HPV infections in 18-24 year old women who date online, and on the potential application of dry-transported, self- collected vaginal swabs for HPV testing.
Results from the proposed study will add new information concerning risk factors for HPV infections in 18-24 year old women who date online, and on the potential application of dry-transported, self collected vaginal swabs for HPV testing.