OBJECTIVES: Women living with HIV (WLWH) have a greater risk of anal cancer than women without HIV; however, there are limited studies that examine awareness of anal cancer risk among WLWH and "high-risk" HIV-negative women. This study examines risk factors for anal cancer, perceptions of risk for anal cancer, and perceptions of anal cancer screening among a cohort of WLWH and high-risk HIV-negative women. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From the Atlanta, GA, and Bronx, NY, sites of the Women's Interagency HIV Study, 155 WLWH and HIV-negative women were enrolled and the Champion Health Belief Model Scale questionnaire measuring risk perceptions to anal cancer was administered to each participant. RESULTS: The WLWH perceived anal cancer to be less serious and perceived facing fewer barriers to anal cancer screening than HIV-negative women (both p = .01). Older women (≥50 years) felt that they had less barriers to anal cancer screening (p = .047). Moreover, women who had less than a high school education felt more susceptible to anal cancer (p = .001), as did women who reported a history of anal intercourse (p = .017). CONCLUSIONS: Despite being at an increased risk for anal cancer, perceptions of susceptibility to anal cancer and seriousness of anal cancer were low among WLWH. These findings highlight opportunities for provider and patient educational interventions to improve awareness of anal cancer risk among WLWH.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology