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Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 413–418 | Cite as

Cervical Cancer Stigma in Rural Kenya: What Does HIV Have to Do with It?

  • Joelle I. RosserEmail author
  • Betty Njoroge
  • Megan J. Huchko
Article

Abstract

Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related death amongst women in sub-Saharan Africa, largely due to the lack of early screening and treatment. In addition to poor access to screening services, inadequate uptake of available services is a barrier to early identification of precancerous lesions. Given that cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted virus and is associated with HIV positivity, stigma is one of the potential barriers to the utilization of cervical cancer programs in sub-Saharan Africa. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 419 women attending health facilities in rural western Kenya to measure levels of cervical cancer and HIV stigma and to measure the associations between cervical cancer stigma, HIV stigma, and HIV status. Women who qualified for cervical cancer screening were asked to complete an oral questionnaire using a modified 9-point HIV stigma scale. Low cervical cancer stigma was reported in this study, with only 85/419 (20.3 %) of respondents answering yes to at least one cervical cancer stigma question. However, cervical cancer stigma was highly correlated with HIV stigma (correlation coefficient 0.72) and was significantly lower in HIV-positive women (p < 0.001). Reducing cervical cancer stigma in the general population is an important part of promoting screening in sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords

Cervical cancer Stigma Sub-Saharan Africa HIV Health education 

Notes

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joelle I. Rosser
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Betty Njoroge
    • 3
  • Megan J. Huchko
    • 4
  1. 1.School of MedicineEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Centre for Microbiology ResearchKenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)Mbagathi WayKenya
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive HealthUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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