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Cost-effectiveness of HPV-based cervical cancer screening in the public health system in Nicaragua.


To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing (versus Papanicolaou (Pap)-based screening) for cervical cancer screening in Nicaragua.A previously developed Monte Carlo simulation model of the natural history of HPV infection and cervical cancer was calibrated to epidemiological data from Nicaragua. Cost data inputs were derived using a micro-costing approach in Carazo, Chontales and Chinandega departments; test performance data were from a demonstration project in Masaya department.Nicaragua's public health sector facilities.Women aged 30-59 years.Screening strategies included (1) Pap testing every 3 years, with referral to colposcopy for women with an atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance or worse result ('Pap'); (2) HPV testing every 5 years, with referral to cryotherapy for HPV-positive eligible women (HPV cryotherapy or 'HPV-Cryo'); (3) HPV testing every 5 years, with referral to triage with visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for HPV-positive women ('HPV-VIA'); and (4) HPV testing every 5 years, with referral to Pap testing for HPV-positive women ('HPV-Pap').Reduction in lifetime risk of cancer and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER; 2015 US$ per year of life saved (YLS)).HPV-based screening strategies were more effective than Pap testing. HPV-Cryo was the least costly and most effective strategy, reducing lifetime cancer risk by 29.5% and outperforming HPV-VIA, HPV-Pap and Pap only, which reduced cancer risk by 19.4%, 12.2% and 10.8%, respectively. With an ICER of US$320/YLS, HPV-Cryo every 5 years would be very cost-effective using a threshold based on Nicaragua's per capita gross domestic product of US$2090. Findings were robust across sensitivity analyses on test performance, coverage, compliance and cost parameters.HPV testing is very cost-effective compared with Pap testing in Nicaragua, due to higher test sensitivity and the relatively lower number of visits required. Increasing compliance with recommended follow-up will further improve the health benefits and value for public health dollars.