Scientific Letter

Abnormal cervical cytology amongst women infected with human immunodeficiency virus in Limpopo province, South Africa

Samuel T. Ntuli, Eric Maimela, Linda Skaal, Mabina Mogale, Provia Lekota
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 12, No 1 | a2215 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v12i1.2215 | © 2020 Samuel T. Ntuli, Eric Maimela, Linda Skaal, Mabina Mogale, Provia Lekota | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2019 | Published: 06 October 2020

About the author(s)

Samuel T. Ntuli, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, Soth Africa; and, Department of Statistics and Operations Research, Sefako Makgatho Health Science University, Ga-rankuwa, South Africa
Eric Maimela, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa
Linda Skaal, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa
Mabina Mogale, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa
Provia Lekota, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Cervical cancer remains the major public problem worldwide and the most common gynaecological malignancy in the developing world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Aim: To determine the prevalence of abnormal cervical cytology amongst women with and without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and examine the association between HIV and histological grading.

Setting: The study was conducted in Limpopo province, which is the northernmost province of South Africa. The province has five district municipalities with one tertiary, five regional and thirty four district hospitals.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed cervical cancer cases in Limpopo province (LP) of South Africa, using data collected routinely by the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS). The data on smears submitted for cytology between 2013 and 2015 were extracted from the Central Data Warehouse (CDW) database.

Results: A total of 84 466 women were screened for cervical cytology smears. Their mean age was 39.8 ± 13.6 years, with range from 15 to 113 years; 77.2% were in the age group 30 years and older and 19.6% had an abnormal cervical cytology result. Overall, 46.4% of the women screened for cervical cancer were HIV infected. A significantly higher proportion of HIV-positive women had abnormal cytology than HIV-negative women (31.8% vs. 9.2%).

Conclusion: The prevalence of abnormal cytology amongst HIV-positive women is relatively high, and the risk appears to be significantly greater in all age groups. This finding highlights the need to ascertain HIV status of all women presenting with cervical cancer.


Keywords

cervical cancer; human immunodeficiency virus; Limpopo province; Prevalence; abnormal cytology

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