Predictors of Successful Treatment Acquisition Among HPV Positive Women in Western Kenya

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Background: While highly preventable cervical cancer remains a leading cause of

cancer in women globally. Sub-Saharan Africa is disproportionately affected, and in

Kenya specifically, over 4,800 new cervical cancer cases are diagnosed and over 2,000

deaths occur each year. While screening for human papillomavirus (HPV) is a more

cost-effective screening strategy with the potential to increase screening uptake, there is

substantial lost to follow-up (LTFU) for treatment following a positive HPV screen. This

study aimed to identify the predictors of successful treatment acquisition and explore

the barriers and facilitators to seeking treatment among HPV positive women.

Methods: This mixed-methods study was integrated into an ongoing clusterrandomized

trial of implementation strategies in rural western Kenya. This study

randomly selected 100 HPV positive women from the original study database and

conducted a treatment acquisition behavior survey. The study sought a 50/50 ratio of

women who were treated and LTFU, but obtained data from 61 treated women and 39

LTFU women. A subset of 10 women in each group were then selected for in-depth

interviews. Analysis included descriptive statistics to compare treated and LTFU

women’s responses to the survey questionnaire. Interview transcripts were coded and


analyzed through code-by-code comparisons of women who were treated and women

who were LTFU.

Results: Cost of transportation and distance to the health facility were the most

common challenges in seeking treatment among both treated and LTFU women. Among

women who sought treatment, 67% (n=41) reported that their peers knew their HPV test

result, whereas among LTFU women only 38% (n=15) reported that their peers knew

their HPV test result (p=0.007). There was a significant difference in knowing their peers’

HPV result between treated and LTFU women (p=0.03). Partner support was described

by treated and LTFU women similarly, in that most women reported that they relied on

their partners for transportation money, and that men not understanding the disease

may prevent them from supporting their wives in seeking treatment. Additional barriers

included fear of the treatment process, stigma within their community, logistical

barriers, and lack of information on the disease and treatment. Facilitators to treatment

seeking included peer encouragement, support and encouragement of their children,

involving men in educational sessions, bringing facilities closer and providing

transportation to the health facility.

Conclusions: Cost of transportation, distance to the treatment facility, support of

partners and children, feelings of fear and stress, stigma within the community and


logistical barriers were reported similarly across treated and LTFU groups. The greatest

disparity between the two groups was a lack of social support among LTFU women.

Given the potential impact of involving men and women in the community in

educational sessions, and promoting treatment seeking in groups, interventions that use

these treatment facilitators are needed.






Novak, Carissa Ashley (2018). Predictors of Successful Treatment Acquisition Among HPV Positive Women in Western Kenya. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.