Visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) positivity among female sex workers: a cross-sectional study highlighting one-year experiences in early detection of precancerous and cancerous cervical lesions in Kampala, Uganda
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Although cervical cancer is preventable, most women in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) do not receive routine screening and few treatment options exist. Female Sex Workers (FSWs) are among the Ugandan female population at highest risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV and human papilloma viruses (HPV), the cause of cervical cancer. We report one-year experiences of visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) positivity among FSWs in the early detection of pre-cancerous and cancerous cervical lesions in Kampala, Uganda. Methods: Between June 2014 and July 2015, we enrolled FSWs into a cross-sectional study at a research clinic. The women were screened using the VIA method (application of 3–5 % acetic acid to the cervix). All VIA positive women were referred to a tertiary hospital for colposcopy, biopsy, and immediate treatment (if indicated) at the same visit according to national guidelines. Data on socio-demographic, sexual behaviour, sexual reproductive health and clinical characteristics were collected. We used logistic regression to identify factors associated with VIA positivity. Results: Of 842 women assessed for eligibility, 719 (85 %) of median age 30 (IQR 26, 35) were screened, and 40 (6 %) women were VIA positive. Of the 24 histology specimens analysed, 6 showed inflammation, only 1 showed cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 1, 13 women showed CIN2/3, while 4 women already had invasive cervical cancer. The overall prevalence of HIV was 43 %, of whom only 35 % were receiving ART. In the age-adjusted analysis, VIA positivity was more likely among women who reported having > 100 life-time partners (aOR = 3.34, 95 %CI: 1.38–8.12), and HIV positive women (aOR = 4.55; 95 %CI: 2.12–9.84).
- Medical and Health Sciences