ACCEPTABILITY OF SELF-ADMINISTERED PAP SMEARS AMONG SUBSTANCE ABUSING POPULATIONS

Date

2014-03

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Bangara, Saritha
Shuler, Monique
Qualls-Hampton, Raquel Y.
Felini, Martha J.

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to assess the acceptability of self-administered Pap tests among a high risk subset of women with substance abuse issues. Our findings have been used to develop a trauma-informed, culturally sensitive cervical cancer education program that can be integrated into substance abuse treatment centers as part of this project. Purpose (a): Prior studies have revealed high acceptability rates for using self-administered Pap smears as an alternative in populations where barriers may prevent access to conventional in-office cervical screening examinations. However, few studies to date have examined whether this self-screening tool would be an option among indigent women engaging in high-risk behaviors. The objective of this study was to assess the acceptability of self-administered Pap smears among women in treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders at the Nexus Recovery Center, Dallas's largest female substance abuse treatment center. Methods (b): Six focus groups (N=48 women) were conducted among women participating in treatment at the Nexus Recovery Center. A separate focus group was conducted among members of our project advisory board (medical professionals, social workers, and recovering addicts) who guided the research. A mixed methods approach was used to analyze the data and identify themes from participants' responses. Results (c): In assessing the participants' utilization of cervical cancer screenings, 30 (63%) had a Pap smear in the last two years. Preliminary analysis suggests that the acceptability of self-administered Pap smears in our study population is low. Conclusions (d): The low acceptability of self-administered Pap tests in our study population is due to a perceived lack of trust in the effectiveness of this tool. This finding will be considered when developing a trauma-informed, culturally sensitive cervical cancer education program that can be integrated into substance abuse treatment centers as part of this project.

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Research Appreciation Day Award Winner - 2014 School of Health Professions - 3rd Place Poster Presentation

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