Cervical Cancer Screening among Women Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy in a Resource-Limited Environment

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Department of Environmental Health, Occupational Health and Toxicology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

2 Department of Biostatistics, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

3 College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

4 College of Health Sciences, Public Health, The University of Dodoma, Dodoma, Tanzania.

5 University of Dodoma, College of Health Sciences, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dodoma, Tanzania.

6 Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly & Children, Dodoma, Tanzania.

7 Dodoma Regional Referral Hospital, Dodoma, Tanzania.

8 Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

9 Tanzania Commission for AIDS, Tanzania.

Abstract

Background: Cervical cancer is among the most prevalent cancer among women worldwide and women living with HIV are at increased risk, especially in a resource-limited environment. Objective: This study aimed to determine levels of awareness, knowledge, uptake, and willingness to screen for cervical cancer among women receiving care in an HIV clinic at Dodoma Regional Referral Hospital (DRRH), Tanzania. Methods: Data were collected for a period of three weeks from July 21 to August 11, 2017 using a mobile phone data collection App. A total of 421 Women aged 18-50 years old were included in the study. Results: Majority of the women interviewed (n=306, 73%) were aware of cervical cancer. Among those who were aware, 84% (n=257) did not recall ever being screened for cervical cancer, and majority had a poor knowledge of cervical cancer. Educational level completed (p=0.01), income per month (p=0.02), age group (p<0.0001), and area of residence (p<0.0001) were all significantly associated to awareness of cervical cancer. Most of the women who have never screened (n=231, 91%) expressed willingness to be screened. Prior uptake of cervical cancer screening was associated with number of live births (p=0.001) and area of residence (p=0.04). And Willingness to screen was significantly associated with age groups (p=0.03) and the number of live births (p=0.03). Moreover, we found that younger age and urban residence was positively associated with awareness and uptake of cervical cancer screening. Willingness was found to decrease as age increased. Conclusion: The study found that despite older women’s higher risk of cervical cancer, those who indicated willingness to screen were younger. Additional education, health promotion, and integration of cervical cancer screening services is needed to improve cervical cancer awareness and screening uptake at the HIV clinic.
 

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