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Cervical cancer screening patterns among HIV-positive women in Estonia: a population-based retrospective cohort study

  • Tisler, Anna1
  • Ojavee, Sven Erik2
  • Veerus, Piret3
  • Soodla, Pilleriin4, 5
  • Uusküla, Anneli1
  • 1 Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia , Tartu (Estonia)
  • 2 University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland , Lausanne (Switzerland)
  • 3 National Institute for Health Development, Tallinn, Estonia , Tallinn (Estonia)
  • 4 Tartu University Hospital, Tartu, Estonia , Tartu (Estonia)
  • 5 Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia , Tartu (Estonia)
Published Article
BMC Cancer
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s12885-021-08076-0
Springer Nature


BackgroundThe World Health Organisation (WHO) calls for the elimination of cervical cancer (CC) as a public health issue. To achieve elimination, efforts must be aligned and accelerated. Women living with HIV (WLWH) have excess risk for developing, and dying from, CC over the general population. Estimates of cervical cancer screening programme coverage in Eastern European countries that have experienced HIV epidemics since the early 2000’s are scarce.MethodThis population-based retrospective study uses a healthcare administrative database and follows cohorts of all WLWH in a ratio of 1:3 randomly matched (age, region) HIV negative women from 2009 to 2018. Annual and longitudinal (over the whole study period) coverage for cervical cancer screening (opportunistic, organised, HIV specific) and adjusted odds ratios (AORs) for longitudinal screening coverage predictors were estimated from 2009 to 2018.ResultsAmong WLWH and HIV-negative women, the mean annual coverage with opportunistic screening was 61.45 and 65.59%; and organised screening was 20.4 and 28.7%, respectively (both: p < 0.00001). 19.01% (95% CI 18.05–19.97) HIV-negative and 13.9% (95% CI 12.35–15.45) WLWH were longitudinally covered with organised cervical cancer screening. Among WLWH, the mean annual HIV-specific cervical cancer screening coverage was 49.4, and 24.3% were longitudinally covered. Longitudinal coverage with HIV-specific cervical cancer screening was inversely associated with age, hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection (AOR 0.754, 95% CI 0.619, 0.916), not having insurance (AOR 0.331, 95% CI 0.264, 0.412), drug abuse (AOR 0.459, 95% CI 0.336, 0.618) and higher among those retained in HIV care (AOR 1.972, 95% CI 1.615, 2.410). Among HIV-negative women, longitudinal coverage with organised cervical cancer screening was inversely associated with residence in the region and higher among older women.ConclusionsOur results highlight unacceptably low coverage of cervical cancer screening of WLWH in Estonia. There is need for dedicated cervical cancer screening efforts for WLWH considering the high cancer risk and rate in the study population.

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