Anal Cancer and Anal Cancer Screening Knowledge, Attitudes, and Perceived Risk among Women Living with HIV

Serena A. Rodriguez, Robin T. Higashi, Andrea C. Betts, Cynthia Ortiz, Jasmin A. Tiro, Amneris E. Luque, Arti Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives The aims of the study were (1) to describe anal cancer knowledge, perceived risk, screening barriers, and acceptability of sample self-collection among women living with HIV (WLWH) at an integrated safety-net system and (2) to describe differences in demographic and psychosocial variables among a subsample of WLWH with a history of abnormal cervical cytology results versus those with normal results. Materials and Methods We conducted telephone surveys with English-and Spanish-speaking WLWH (N = 99) and used electronic health record data to extract insurance type, CD4+ cell count, RNA viral load, and cervical cytology results. We calculated descriptive statistics for participant demographics, HIV laboratory results, and psychosocial variables. Among the subsample of women who completed a recent cervical Pap, we used Fisher exact test to assess differences in demographic variables, CD4+ counts, RNA viral loads, knowledge, awareness, acceptability, and perceived risk by cervical cytology results. Results Most participants (70%) reported knowing nothing about anal cancer; 28% correctly responded that HIV increases one's chance of getting anal cancer. Most (68%) never heard of an anal Pap test. Forty percent would get an anal Pap if they could self-collect the sample, whereas 59% were neutral or disagreed. The 2 most commonly cited barriers to obtaining an anal Pap were "I do not know enough about it"(n = 15) and "It might hurt"(n = 9). Conclusions This study highlights a gap in knowledge and awareness among WLWH regarding their heightened risk for anal cancer. It indicates the need for health education and suggests an opportunity for a self-collection intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Lower Genital Tract Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • HPV
  • anal Pap test
  • safety-net
  • self-collection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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