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Knowledge of Pap screening and human papillomavirus among women attending clinics in Medellín, Colombia
  1. R. Hanisch*,
  2. J. Gustat*,
  3. M. E. Hagensee,
  4. A. Baena,
  5. J. E. Salazar,
  6. M. V. Castro,
  7. A. M. Gaviria,§ and
  8. G. I. SÁNCHEZ
  1. * Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana;
  2. Section of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana;
  3. Grupo Infección y Cáncer, School of Medicine, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia; and
  4. § Escuela de Bacteriología, Colegio Mayor de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Gloria Ines Sánchez, PhD, Group Infection and Cancer, School of Medicine, Universidad de Antioquia, Cra. 51 D N° 62-29 Lab 283 B, Medellín, Colombia. Email: sanchezg{at}


This study evaluated Pap screening and human papillomavirus (HPV) knowledge in a population of Colombian women as a possible contributing factor of low cervical cancer screening success. This is a descriptive, cross-sectional analysis of 454 women who were approached in five different hospitals and clinics throughout Medellín, Colombia. Of them, 449 females agreed to participate and answered a standardized face-to-face questionnaire regarding Pap screening and HPV knowledge. Using logistic regression, predictors of both Pap and HPV knowledge were examined. Overall, 76.3% of the participants exhibited a high level of Pap screening knowledge, while only 7.8% showed high level of HPV knowledge. Of the 449 women, 71.5% reported that it had been 1 year or less since their last Pap test, while 7.8% reported never having had a Pap test or not having had a recent test. Factors influencing Pap screening knowledge included education level and insurance; factors influencing HPV knowledge included education level and age. The high level of Pap screening knowledge and use do not explain the high cervical cancer rates in Colombia. The results of this study suggest that educational efforts should be focused on increasing women's knowledge and awareness of HPV in anticipation of the availability of HPV vaccines and HPV tests for screening

  • cervical cancer screening
  • Colombia
  • human papillomavirus
  • knowledge
  • Pap screening
  • survey

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