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Visual inspection with acetic acid as a feasible screening test for cervical neoplasia in Iran
  2. N. BEHTASH*,
  4. A. MOUSAVI*,
  5. M. MARJANI* and
  1. *Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  2. Department of Epidemiology, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr F. Ghaemmaghami, No. 28, 1st Baharestan, Pasdaran Avenue, Tehran, Iran. Email: ftghaemmag{at}


The aim of this study was to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of visual inspection of the uterine cervix with acetic acid (VIA) as a screening test for cervical carcinoma and its precursors. One thousand and two hundred eligible women were screened by VIA and Papanicolaou smear. Those positive on one or both of these screening tests (n = 308) or those who had clinically suspicious lesions, even if the tests were negative [25% of remainders (n = 290)], were referred for colposcopy. Three hundred and fifty five of 598 women at colposcopy underwent biopsies or endocervical curettage. Those with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia I (CIN I) or worse lesions, diagnosed by histology, were considered true positive. VIA was positive in 191 women (16.1%). In 175 true-positive cases, VIA detected 130 cases, yielding a sensitivity of 74.3% and a specificity of 94%. By considering atypical squamous cell of undetermined significance or worse lesions on Papanicolaou smear as referring threshold for colposcopy, the sensitivity and specificity of cytology were 72 and 90.2%, respectively. In conclusion, the sensitivity and specificity of VIA is high and comparable with that of cytology. Hence, VIA can be undertaken as a feasible method of screening in cervical cancer in countries where access to cytopathology is limited.

  • cervical carcinoma
  • colposcopy
  • Papanicolaou smear
  • screening
  • visual inspection with acetic acid

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