Objective: the objective of this study is to explore the perceptions of medical students regarding the Papsmear test. Methodology: Focus group discussion was held with twenty three medical students. The students weredivided into three focus groups; two groups of female participants consisting of 9 and 8 students; respectively.The third group consistedof 6 male students. Questions regarding Pap smear testing included barriers thatprevented women from taking the test, gender preference for the physician to conduct the cervical screeningtest, willingness to suggest Pap smear test to the family or friends. The data obtained were classified into variouscategories and analyzed manually.
Results: Most of the study participants mentioned that the main barriersfor women to not perform Pap smear test is lack of awareness 16 (70%), followed by shyness 12 (52%) and thecost of the test 12 (52%). Most agreed that the gender of the physician will affect the women decision to do Papsmear test. All mentioned that the advantage of a regular Pap smear test is to detect the abnormality at the earlystage of cervical cancer. Some of the participants 9 (39%) mentioned that the disadvantages are expense, possibleinjury in the vagina due to the test procedures 8 (35%), associated infection 7(30.4%) and pain 7(30.4%) . Themajority, 20 (87%) mentioned that the most effective prevention methods for cervical cancer are having sex onlyafter getting married with the spouse only, HPV vaccination 15 (65%) and Pap smear14 (61%).
Conclusion:The main barriers for women to not perform Pap smear test is lack of awareness, shyness and the cost of thetest. Gender of the physician will affect the women decision to do Pap smear test.