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J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2017 Jan;21(1):37-41. doi: 10.1097/LGT.0000000000000281.

Awareness of Cervical Cancer Causes and Predeterminants of Likelihood to Screen Among Women in Haiti.

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1Family Health Ministries, Durham, NC; 2Duke Global Health Institute, Durham, NC; 3Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; 4Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; 5Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; 6University of Notre Dame-Haiti School of Medicine; and 7Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.



Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Haiti. Given this high disease burden, we sought to better understand women's knowledge of its causes and the sociodemographic and health correlates of cervical cancer screening.


Participants were 410 adult women presenting at clinics in Léogâne and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We used bivariate and multivariate logic regression to identify correlates of Pap smear receipt.


Only 29% of respondents had heard of human papillomavirus (HPV), whereas 98% were aware of cervical cancer. Of those aware of cervical cancer, 12% believed that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) cause it, and only 4% identified HPV infection as the cause. Women with a previous sexually transmitted infection were more likely to have had Pap smear (34% vs 71%, odds ratio = 3.45; 95% CI = 1.57-7.59). Screening was also more likely among women who were older than the age of 39 years, better educated, and employed (all p < .05). Almost all women (97%) were willing to undergo cervical cancer screening.


This sample of Haitian women had limited awareness of HPV and cervical cancer causes; but when provided with health information, they saw the benefits of cancer screening. Future initiatives should provide health education messages, with efforts targeting young and at-risk women.

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