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Knowledge and fears among Chilean women with regard to the Papanicolaou test



Knowledge and fears among Chilean women with regard to the Papanicolaou test



Bulletin of the Pan American Health Organization 30(4): 354-361



This exploratory study was conducted among a sample of 299 women out of a total sample of 861 who had attended three primary health care clinics (La Feria, San Jose, and Maipu) in southern and western portions of Santiago, Chile. The interviews were conducted during June, August, and November 1993. The women were aged 25-54 years. Most were overdue for a Pap smear. The women had been seen at these clinics during January 1987 and January 1989. 248 refused to be interviewed, and 314 were lost to follow-up. One question about the purpose of the Pap test was answered only by 199 women. 34% of the 299 women interviewed reported a failure to have a Pap test due to forgetfulness. 27% did not think it was necessary to have the test every 3 years. 8% reported fear of the procedure. This proportion of fearful women remained the same regardless of educational level. The most educated women were the most likely to be up to date with Pap smear testing. 30% of women aged over 45 years were up to date with their Pap tests. 28% had knowledgeable answers about the purpose of the Pap test; 58% gave fair answers and 10% gave incorrect answers. 30% trusted that health care personnel had good quality information. 36% believed that mass media had good quality information, but 12% thought the media also gave incorrect information. 43% of better educated women, 25% of less educated women, and 23% of least educated women had good quality information. The proportion of good quality information was 19% among women aged over 45 years, 30% among women aged 36-45 years, and 27% among women aged under 36 years. 60% of the common fears were blamed on the criticism given by health workers for delaying a Pap test. 39% feared pain. Over 25% feared loss of their IUD during the Pap test.

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Accession: 046508143

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PMID: 9041747


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