Peer mentorship to increase cervical cancer screening uptake in women living with HIV: a pilot project

Jacqueline Thomas1 and Aimee C Holland2
1DNP Candidate; 2Associate Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, AL, USA

Background: Women living with HIV have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. Screening guidelines recommend that women living with HIV (WLH) have a Papanicolaou (Pap) test more often than the usual standard of care. Objective: This project examined peer mentorship influence on cervical cancer screening uptake. Method: A peer mentorship intervention consisted of peer mentors that provided information about cervical cancer screening and assisted with scheduling a gynaecological visit. A retrospective chart review of 129 records identified Pap tests performed for a 3-month period during usual standard of care and during intervention. Results: A chi-squared test compared the usual standard of care with peer mentorship intervention. Results showed a P-value of 0.021, less than the specified α level of 0.05 indicating a statistically significant difference. Conclusion: This project demonstrated that peer mentorship has a positive influence on cervical cancer screening uptake among WLH. Cultural factors involve women’s belief systems that a Pap test will diagnose instead of screen for cancer. Interventions to improve Pap test screening specifically for WLH are limited and current literature suggests peer mentorship as a strategy to engage persons living with HIV in self-management activities to improve health outcomes.
Keywords: cervical cancer, Pap test, peer mentorship, screening, HIV