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East Afr J Public Health. 2011 Sep;8(3):185-9.

Cervical pre-malignant lesions in HIV infected women attending Care and Treatment Centre in a tertiary hospital, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


The aims of this study was to determine proportion of HIV infected women with cervical pre-malignant lesions; and compare the use of Visual Inspection of the cervix after application of Acetic acid (VIA) and Papanicolau (Pap) smear in screening for cervical premalignant lesions in HIV positive women attending Care and Treatment Centre (CTC) at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A total of 316 women aged 18-70 years had a Pap smear taken for cytology, followed by spraying onto the cervix with 4% acetic acid and then inspecting it. Cytology was considered negative when there was no Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN) lesion reported from the Pap smear taken, and positive if CIN lesion 1, 2 or 3 was reported. Detection of a well-defined, opaque acetowhite lesion close to the squamocolumnar junction or close to the external cervical os constituted a positive VIA. Out of 316 women, 132 women had acetowhite lesions on VIA, making the proportion of abnormal cervical lesions to be 42.4%. One hundred and one out of 312 women (32.4%) had CIN lesions detected on Pap smear. The proportion of agreement between these two tests was 0.3. The proportion of agreement was moderate in women with advanced WHO HIV clinical stage of the disease and in women not on ART (Anti Retroviral Therapy). Women with CD-4 count less than 200 cells/mm3 had more abnormal cervical lesions. There is considerable proportion of HIV positive women with premalignant lesions of the cervix. Considering the proportion of HIV women with abnormal lesions and the difficulty in logistics of doing Pap smear in low resource settings, these results supports the recommendation to introduce screening of premalignant lesions of the cervix using VIA to all HIV infected women.

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