Background: Certain types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) have a strong link with cervical cancer. HIV-infected women have a higher risk of oncogenic HPV infection and cervical cancer.
Aim:The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of women attending HIV treatment centre in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria.
Methods:A purposive sampling technique was used to select 38 participants in 4 focus groups discussion. Respondents were in homogenous groups based on their age and marital status. A pretested focus group guide was used to facilitate the discussion. Responses were tape-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically.
Results:Over half of the respondents were married. Four themes emerged: Poor knowledge ofcervical cancer and its causes, poor knowledge about HPV infection and its prevention, fear and disbelief about their perceived risk of cervical cancer, poor screening practices for cervical cancer. Most the respondents had heard of cervical cancer and considered it a major health problem in the general population causing morbidity and mortality. Some participants had fair knowledge about pap smear and signs and symptoms of cervical cancer but majority lack knowledge about it causes especially about HPV infections and its prevention. Participant expressed fear and disbelief about their increased risk of HPV infection and cervical cancer. Reasons for not undergoing screening for cervical cancer include; lack of information about the screening, absence of symptoms and fear of being diagnosed with cervical cancer. Majority want to be screened if the services are affordable. Participants were willing to vaccinate their children against HPV and desired more information about cervical cancer and HPV infection.
Conclusions: Routine consultation in HIV treatment centres should integrate educating client about their risk for cancers most especially cervical cancer among women into their care and provision of screening services for them.