Date: 15 Jun 2014

Cervical Cancer Prevention Knowledge and Abnormal Pap Test Experiences Among Women Living with HIV/AIDS

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Cervical cancer prevention knowledge deficits persist among women living with HIV/AIDS (WLHA) despite increased risk of developing cervical dysplasia/cancer. We examined associations between WLHA’s cervical cancer prevention knowledge and abnormal Pap test history. We recruited 145 urban and rural WLHA from Ryan White-funded clinics and AIDS service organizations located in the southeastern USA between March 2011 and April 2012. For this analysis, women who reported a history of cervical cancer (n = 3) or had a complete hysterectomy (n = 14) and observations with missing data (n = 22) were excluded. Stata/IC 13 was used to perform cross-tabulations and chi-squared tests. Our sample included 106 predominantly non-Hispanic Black (92 %) WLHA. Mean age was 46.3 ± 10.9 years. Half (50 %) had ≤ high school education. One third (37 %) had low health literacy. The majority (83 %) had a Pap test <1 year ago, and 84 % knew that WLHA should have a Pap test every year, once two tests are normal. Many (68 %) have had an abnormal Pap test. Abnormal Pap test follow-up care knowledge varied. While 86 % knew follow-up care could include a repeat Pap test, only 56 % knew this could also include an HPV test. Significantly, more women who had an abnormal Pap test knew follow-up care could include a biopsy (p = 0.001). For WLHA to make informed/shared decisions about their cervical health, they need to be knowledgeable about cervical cancer care options across the cancer control continuum. Providing WLHA with prevention knowledge beyond screening recommendations seems warranted given their increased risk of developing cervical dysplasia/neoplasia.