“The Womb People” : Detection, Treatment, And Prevention Of Cervical Cancer With The Khayelitsha Cervical Cancer Screening Project In Khayelitsha, South Africa

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Lynch, Kirsten; Brown University
Community Health and Preventive Medicine; Maternal and Child Health
paper description
The current policy concerning cervical cancer screenings is not effectively addressing the specific needs of the female South African population. The program, as outlined by the South African Department of Health, is not sufficiently accessing women due to problems in availability, access, organization, and education. As women are living longer with HIV/AIDS, due to antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, they are becoming more susceptible to opportunistic infections that can lead to cervical cancer, such as Human strains of the virus can be prevented with administration of an HPV vaccination and advancement of precancerous lesions can be detected and treated with current technology. Cervical cancer screenings and HPV vaccinations are expensive, however, and many women are not properly educated about their gynecological options in South Africa.The staff at the Khayelitsha Cervical Cancer Screening Project in the Khayelitsha township of Cape Town provides effective, women-friendly services to the community, offering cervical cancer screenings and tertiary-level treatment to the women of the township. In addition to providing a much-needed service to the community, the Project works as a research facility and is currently exploring the safety of HPV vaccinations on HIV-positive women in order to promote further research and awareness concerning cervical cancer and HPV. This study aims to describe the status of cervical cancer screenings in South Africa and explore the advances made by the center to better women’s health.