Differences in Cervical Cancer Screening Knowledge and Practices by HIV Status and Geographic Location: Implication for Program Implementation in Zambia

Namakau Nyambe, Sonja Hoover, Leeya F. Pinder, Carla J. Chibwesha, Sharon Kapambwe, Groesbeck Parham, Sujha Subramanian


The knowledge and perceptions of cervical cancer among HIV negative and positive women, aged 25-49 years, from rural and urban locations in Zambia was systematically accessed in this study to determine any differences. Data were coded and analyzed using NVivo software. Compared to HIV negative women, HIV positive women had more accurate information about cervical cancer. They were more likely to cite male circumcision as the best approach to cervical cancer prevention. HPV infection was more commonly mentioned as a risk factor among HIV positive women. However, HIV positive women displayed little knowledge about HPV being the major cause of cervical cancer. Among HIV positive women, lack of time was the major screening barrier cited while HIV negative women mentioned being symptomatic as a determinant for early detection. Compared to rural residents, urban residents cited a wider range of cervical cancer information sources, including media and workplace although all of the participants who stated that they had no knowledge of cervical cancer were urban residents. Overall, knowledge and perceptions of cervical cancer among study participants was high, although differences exist between subgroups. Sharing accurate and standardized information on cervical cancer would improve participation in cervical cancer screening services. (Afr J Reprod Health 2018; 22[4]:92-101).

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