Measuring Knowledge of Cancer Screening and Prevention Strategies in HIV Healthcare Professionals

Vivian Colón-López, Ana P. Ortiz, Naydi Pérez, Eliseo Acevedo, Vivian Tamayo, Carmen D. Zorrilla


Objective: Due to advances in the care of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), life expectancy significantly increased, putting this group vulnerable to age-related comorbidities, such as cancer. The objective of this study was to describe the knowledge of cancer screening (cervical, breast, anal, colon, prostate) and other cancer prevention strategies (HPV vaccination, HPV testing) among HIV care professionals in Puerto Rico (PR). Methods: Cross-sectional study using a sample of 104 HIV healthcare professionals in PR. Descriptive analyses were used to characterize the study sample. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the relation of sociodemographic and work-related factors with cancer screening knowledge. Results: On average, the healthcare professionals interviewed had been working for more than 10 years with the HIV/AIDS population (11.5±7.6 years). Multivariate analysis showed that physicians had a higher likelihood of having extensive knowledge of cervical (OR=3.96; 95% CI=1.23, 12.77) and anal cancer (OR=9.4; 95% CI=2.2, 41.0) screening than other healthcare professionals. For anal cancer in particular, as the number of years a given participant had been working with people living with HIV/AIDS increased, the likelihood that this participant would have extensive knowledge of anal cancer screening significantly increased (10% year). Conclusion: Health education interventions, tailored to healthcare professionals who recently finished their formal education should be developed in HPV-related cancers. Such training would improve cancer prevention and control efforts, thereby benefitting the HIV population in Puerto Rico.


HIV/AIDS; Quantitative Methods; Workforce Development; Cancer Prevention & Screening; Community Health

Full Text:


Published by the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
Founded in 1982