Objective To determine the acceptability of self-collected versus provider-collected sampling among women participating in public sector HPV-based cervical cancer screening in El Salvador. Methods Two thousand women aged 30-49 years underwent self-collected and provider-collected sampling with careHPV between October 2012 and March 2013 (Qiagen, Gaithersburg, MD, USA). After sample collection, a random sample of women (n = 518) were asked about their experience. Participants were questioned regarding sampling method preference, previous cervical cancer screening, HPV and cervical cancer knowledge, HPV risk factors, and demographic information. Results All 518 women approached to participate in this questionnaire study agreed and were enrolled, 27.8% (142 of 511 responding) of whom had not received cervical cancer screening within the past 3 years and were considered under-screened. Overall, 38.8% (n = 201) preferred self-collection and 31.9% (n = 165) preferred provider collection. Self-collection preference was associated with prior tubal ligation, HPV knowledge, future self-sampling preference, and future home-screening preference (P < 0.05). Reasons for self-collection preference included privacy/embarrassment, ease, and less pain; reasons cited for provider-collection preference were result accuracy and provider knowledge/experience. Conclusion Self-sampling was found to be acceptable, therefore screening programs could consider offering this option either in the clinic or at home. Self-sampling at home may increase coverage in low-resource countries and reduce the burden that screening places upon clinical infrastructure. © 2014 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.