Knowledge, attitudes, and practices of cervical Cancer screening among HIV-positive and HIV-negative women participating in human papillomavirus screening in rural Zimbabwe

Megan Fitzpatrick, Mythili P. Pathipati, Kathy McCarty, Anat Rosenthal, David Katzenstein, Z. M. Chirenje, Benjamin Pinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Women in low- and middle-income countries are at the highest risk of cervical cancer yet have limited access to and participation in cervical cancer screening programs. Integrating self-collected, community-based screening offers a potential primary screening method in areas of limited resources. In this paper, we present a study evaluating knowledge, attitudes, and practices of cervical cancer and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in rural Zimbabwe. Methods: We performed a community-based cross-sectional knowledge, attitudes and practices of HPV and cervical cancer study in rural Zimbabwe from January 2017-May 2017. Women were selected for the study via random number generation from complete lists of inhabitants in the study area if they satisfied the inclusion criteria (≥30-years-old, ≤65-years-old, not pregnant, intact uterus). If selected, they participated in a 19-question structured knowledge, attitudes and practices survey. The questionnaire included questions on demographics, education, knowledge of HPV, cervical cancer, and risk factors. Chi-squared tests were evaluated comparing knowledge, attitudes and practices relating to HPV and cervical cancer screening with actual infection with HPV. Women were also offered a voluntary HIV and self-collected HPV screening. Results: Six hundred seventy-nine women were included in the knowledge, attitudes and practices survey. Most women (81%) had heard of cervical cancer while the majority had not heard of HPV (12%). The number of women that had been screened previously for cervical cancer was low (5%). There were no significant differences between and within groups regarding knowledge of cervical cancer and actual overall infection with HR-HPV, HPV 16, and HPV 18/45 test results. Conclusions: Most women in rural Zimbabwe have heard of cervical cancer, but the number that had been screened was low. Extending existing outreach services to include cervical cancer screening, potentially including HPV screening, should include cervical cancer/HPV education and screening triage. This approach would serve to bridge the gap between knowledge and screening availability to address some of the barriers to cervical cancer care still affecting women in many regions of the world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153
JournalBMC Women's Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 25 Jul 2020


  • Cervical Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer screening
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Knowledge, attitudes and practices
  • Zimbabwe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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