Barriers and motivators for uptake of cervical cancer prevention strategies in Eastern Europe: The perspective from Latvia

Hersha Patel, Susan M. Sherman, Kristine Pčolkina, Kristīne Strazdiņa, Ilze Viberga, Charles W. Redman, Jana Zodzika, Dace Rezeberga, Esther L. Moss (Coresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The incidence of cervical cancer (CC) in eastern European countries is high; however, uptake of available prevention strategies is suboptimal. We explored knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes toward CC prevention strategies in Latvian women. Methods: A mixed-methods study of Latvian women, consisting of surveys and semi-structured interviews, was conducted in Riga, Latvia in September and October 2015. Results: Altogether, 158 surveys were completed and 10 interviews were conducted. In total, 87% (n = 135) had previously had a smear test, and 67% (n = 105) correctly identified that cervical cytology was performed to identify precancerous changes. The practice of annual gynecological checkups was prevalent, and many believed it to be synonymous with cervical screening. Detailed knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and the HPV vaccine was deficient, although 73% (n = 115) and 70% (n = 90), respectively, claimed to have heard of them. Negative attitudes existed regarding the HPV vaccine due to fear of potential side effects. On learning that HPV was transmitted through sexual contact, the notion of testing positive for HPV was met with shame and embarrassment. Conclusions: A small proportion of Latvian women are over-screened, whereas many women remain unscreened. The main contributing factor for this was their poor understanding of the roles that cervical screening and HPV vaccination play in preventing CC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-111
JournalActa Dermatovenerologica Alpina, Pannonica et Adriatica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cervical cancer prevention
  • Cervical screening
  • Eastern Europe
  • HPV
  • HPV vaccination
  • Latvia

Field of Science*

  • 3.3 Health sciences
  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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