Knowledge on human papilloma virus and experience of getting positive results: a qualitative study among women in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Patricia Swai, Melina Mgongo*, Beatrice J. Leyaro, Julius Mwaiselage, Bariki L. Mchome, Susanne K. Kjaer, Vibeke Rasch, Rachel Manongi, Sia E. Msuya


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Background: Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection causing more than 80% of cervical cancers. WHO recommends using of sensitive screening methods like HPV-testing to timely prevent future morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer. Pilot studies have shown that HPV-testing is feasible and can be scaled in developing country like Tanzania. However, there is limited information on women understanding, reactions and psychological challenges following diagnosis of high risk HPV (HR-HPV). This study explored the knowledge of women on HPV and their experience after HPV positive results in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Methods: The study was part of a larger study that assessed incidence and persistence of HR-HPV among women aged 18 years and above in Kilimanjaro. This was a cross sectional study conducted in Moshi municipal council among women who had HR-HPV positive results at enrollment. In-depth interviews were conducted with 13 randomly selected women who were attending for follow-up after enrollment. Interviews were conducted at the health facility and Atlas.ti.8 was used to analyze the data using thematic framework analysis. Results: Women had knowledge on HPV infection but they had different reactions following receiving positive HPV results. Reaction toward the positive HPV results had two extremes; some women had psychological effect (hopeless, death sentence, having cancer, being shocked, failure to disclose and psychosexual effects) while others women explained positive results is good as they are identified earlier, will be followed up and it has made them plan to continue with cervical cancer screening in future. Conclusion: Women had knowledge on HPV, but positive results lead to negative and positive experiences by women. Clinicians and programs need to develop interventions and good strategies to minimize the psychological and social burden of testing positive for HPV.

TidsskriftBMC Women's Health
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 11. feb. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
We thank KCMC and ORCI for their support. A special thank goes out to all women who consented to participate in this study.

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign affairs through the Danish International Development Agency, Danish Fellowship Centre with grant number: 14-P02-Tan/A26775. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis and decision to preparation or publish the manuscript.


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