Determinants of VIA (Visual Inspection of the Cervix After Acetic Acid Application) Positivity in Cervical Cancer Screening of Women in a Peri-Urban Area in Andhra Pradesh, India

SHARE INDIA, Mediciti Institute for Medical Sciences, Ghanpur, India.
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention (Impact Factor: 4.13). 05/2010; 19(5):1373-80. DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-1282
Source: PubMed


Visual inspection of the cervix after acetic acid application (VIA) is widely recommended as the method of choice in cervical cancer screening programs in resource-limited settings because of its simplicity and ability to link with immediate treatment. In testing the effectiveness of VIA, human papillomavirus DNA testing, and Pap cytology in a population-based study in a peri-urban area in Andhra Pradesh, India, we found the sensitivity of VIA for detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 and worse (CIN2+) to be 26.3%, much lower than the 60% to 90% reported in the literature. We therefore investigated the determinants of VIA positivity in our study population.
We evaluated VIA positivity by demographics and reproductive history, results of clinical examination, and results from the other screening methods.
Of the 19 women diagnosed with CIN2+, only 5 were positive by VIA (positive predictive value, 3.1%). In multivariate analysis, VIA positivity (12.74%) was associated with older age, positive Pap smear, visually apparent cervical inflammation, and interobserver variation. Cervical inflammation of unknown cause was present in 21.62% of women. In disease-negative women, cervical inflammation was associated with an increase in VIA positivity from 6.1% to 15.5% (P<0.001). Among the six gynecologists who performed VIA, the positivity rate varied from 4% to 31%.
The interpretation of VIA is subjective and its performance cannot be readily evaluated against objective standards.
VIA is not a robust screening test and we caution against its use as the primary screening test in resource-limited regions.

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    • "A major advantage of the test is that the results are immediately available, which allows further management decisions to be made at the same visit. However, the positive predictive value of VIA is suboptimal, leading to unnecessary referrals and/or treatment.[34] A triaging strategy, if found effective, will reduce such needless referrals and/or treatment. "
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    ABSTRACT: VIA is a simple, inexpensive test widely advocated for resource-limited settings. Major limitation of VIA is its low specificity. HPV DNA testing can be used to triage VIA-positive women if the facilities are available. The major concern for such strategy would be whether sample collection after acetic acid wash will alter HPV test characteristics. This study aimed to evaluate whether samples for HPV testing by Hybrid Capture 2 (HC2) technology can be collected immediately after VIA without altering test performance. Total 204 VIA-positive women were recruited. Cervical samples were collected for HC2 test before and after VIA at the same sitting by the same provider. The paired samples were analyzed at the same laboratory by the same technician in the same batch of testing. Agreement in HC2 results between pre-VIA and post-VIA samples was estimated using kappa statistics. All women had colposcopy and biopsies were obtained if colposcopy was suspicious of neoplasia. Sensitivity and specificity of HC2 test in detecting CIN2+ lesions were calculated using negative colposcopy or biopsy as the gold standard and were compared between the pre and post VIA samples. Almost perfect agreement in HC2 results (kappa=0.85) and RLU/Cut off ratios (correlation coefficient=0.92) was observed between samples collected before and after VIA. The sensitivity and specificity to detect CIN2+ lesions remained unaltered even when cervical samples were collected after VIA. This confirmed that acetic acid wash did not alter HC2 performance. Collection of samples for HC2 test is feasible immediately after VIA.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · International journal of preventive medicine
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    • "In other cross-sectional studies, the proportion of VIA positive women varies from 2% to 16% [7,14,15]. It has been suggested that this observed heterogeneity in VIA positivity rates may be due to factors other than disease prevalence [16]. Hence, when discussing the validity of VIA as a screening method for cervical cancer there is concern about a lack of standardized test definition, differences in test providers skills, underlying prevalence of other sexually transmitted infections and lack of uniformity in the application of gold standard for disease definition [17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Tanzania is among the countries in the world where the cervical cancer incidence is estimated to be highest. Acknowledging an increase in the burden of cervical cancer, VIA was implemented as a regional cervical cancer screening strategy in Tanzania in 2002. With the aim of describing risk factors for VIA positivity and determinants of screening attendances in Tanzania, this paper present the results from a comparative analysis performed among women who are reached and not reached by the screening program”. Methods 14 107 women aged 25–59 enrolled in a cervical cancer screening program in Dar es Salaam in the period 2002 – 2008. The women underwent VIA examination and took part in a structured questionnaire interview. Socioeconomic characteristics, sexual behavior, HIV status and high-risk (HR) HPV infection were determined in a subpopulation of 890 who participated and 845 who did not participate in the screening. Results Being widowed/separated OR=1.41 (95% CI: 1.17-1.66), of high parity OR=3.19 (95% CI: 1.84-5.48) of low education OR= 4.30 (95% CI: 3.50-5.31) and married at a young age OR=2.17 (95% CI: 1.37-3.07) were associated with being VIA positive. Women who participated in the screening were more likely to be HIV positive OR= 1.59 (95% CI. 1.14-2.25) in comparison with women who had never attended screening, while no difference was found in the prevalence of HR-HPV infection among women who had attended screening and women who had not attended screening. Conclusion Women who are widowed/separated, of high parity, of low education and married at a young age are more likely to be VIA positive and thus at risk of developing cervical cancer. The study further documents that a referral linkage between the HIV care and treatment program and the cervical cancer screening program is in place in the setting studied, where HIV positive were more likely to participate in the cervical cancer screening program than HIV negative women.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · BMC Public Health
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    • "Overall, VIA positivity was 8% in our first year. This is comparable to other similar programmes where percent positivity ranged from 3.8% to 12.7% [6,7,9,10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In order to maximize the benefits of HIV care and treatment investments in sub-Saharan Africa, programs can broaden to target other diseases amenable to screening and efficient management. We nested cervical cancer screening into family planning clinics at select sites also receiving PEPFAR support for antiretroviral therapy (ART) rollout. This was done using visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) by maternal child health nurses. We report on achievements and obstacles in the first year of the program in rural Mozambique. VIA was taught to clinic nurses and hospital physicians, with a regular clinical feedback loop for quality evaluation and retraining. Cryotherapy using carbon dioxide as the refrigerant was provided at clinics; loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) and surgery were provided at the provincial hospital for serious cases. No pathology services were available. Nurses screened 4651 women using VIA in Zambézia Province in year one of the program, more than double the Ministry of Health service target. VIA was judged positive for squamous intraepithelial lesions in 8% (n=380) of the women (9% if age ≥ 30 years (n=3154) and 7% if age <30 years (n=1497); p=0.02). Of the 380 VIA-positive women, 4% (n=16) had lesions (0.3% of 4651 total screened) requiring referral to Quelimane Provincial Hospital. Fourteen (88%) of these 16 women were seen at the hospital, but records were inadequate to judge outcomes. Of women screened, 2714 (58%) either had knowledge of their HIV status prior to VIA or were subsequently sent for HIV testing, of which 583 (21%) were HIV positive. Screening and clinical services were successfully provided on a large scale for the first time ever in these rural clinics. However, health manpower shortages, equipment problems, poor paper record systems and a limited ability to follow-up patients inhibited the quality of the cervical cancer screening services. Using prior HIV investments, chronic disease screening and management for cervical cancer is feasible even in severely resource-constrained rural Africa.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Journal of the International AIDS Society
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