Jul 23, 2011

Kenya: More Cervical Cancer Screening for HIV-positive Women Urged


Cervical cancer is largely preventable, yet remains the second most frequent cancer among women in Kenya (It kills 250,000 women world-wide each year and is the fifth leading cancer causing death in women). Health specialists and government officials in Kenya are taking major steps to improve regular screening practices into women’s lives and HIV care. Women of reproductive age are most at risk of developing cervical cancer. Additionally, HIV infection increases a woman’s risk of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, one of the leading causes of cervical cancer. Currently, Kenya includes cervical cancer screening as part of routine care for HIV positive women, but levels remain low due to lack of awareness. By making screening routine with HIV care, officials in Kenya believe more women with abnormal lesions can be identified and treated. Additionally, HPV infection may begin to decline by using additional preventive measures such as condom use, male circumcision, and reducing the number of sexual partners. Data collected by Life for Mothers (LfM) in Uganda indicates extremely low levels of cervical cancer screening among the rural population where 90% of the country lives. Incorporating cancer screening into female reproductive healthcare and HIV services aligns with the holistic model LFM is working to establish in Uganda.  Unfortunately, skilled health workers are needed to examine the tissue collected and looked under a microscope and there is an extreme shortage of these workers in both countries. A cheaper and simpler technique using acetic acid (vinegar) or VIA enables a health worker to examine the cervix after it 's been applied with acetic acid. Areas of suspicion turn white and these can be referred to biopsy. VIA may be a good alternative in these low-resource settings to increase screenings and save women's lives. To read the full article, click here.

Did you know?

99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

Source:The World Health Organization (WHO), 2010

Franck Muller USA
is a proud sponsor of