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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 183–186 | Cite as

Factors Associated with PAP Testing in Adolescents in Northern Nova Scotia

  • Donald B. LangilleEmail author
  • Janet A. Rigby
Research

Abstract

Objective: To determine relationships of socio-economic factors and contraceptive behaviours with PAP testing in sexually active women aged 15–19 who had received physician services in northern Nova Scotia in the previous year.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was completed by adolescents attending four high schools in three counties in northern Nova Scotia. Questions concerned contraceptive behaviours, socio-economic status and health services use, including PAP testing. Associations of socio-economic factors and contraceptive behaviours with receipt of a PAP test in the previous year were examined in women who were sexually active for at least one year, and who also had visited a physician during the previous year.

Results: One thousand and ninety adolescent women aged 15–19 completed surveys, with a response rate of 91%. Of the 396 (36.3%) who reported being sexually active and having visited a physician in the previous year, 393 provided information about PAP testing. Of these, 214 (54.5%) reported receiving a PAP test. Factors associated with PAP testing included viewing one’s family as advantaged and living in a major town as opposed to a more rural area. Compared with using hormonal contraception, using either condom without other effective contraception or no effective contraception at last intercourse were negatively associated with PAP testing.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that physicians use hormonal contraception as a cue for PAP testing in adolescent women. Guidelines call for regular PAP testing of sexually active adolescents, and efforts to increase adolescent PAP testing should include professional development to increase recognition of sexual activity.

MeSH terms

Adolescent Papanicolaou smear contraception 

Résumé

Objectif: Déterminer les liens entre les facteurs socioéconomiques et les schémas de contraception, d’une part, et le dépistage cytologique du cancer du col (test de Papanicolaou), d’autre part, chez les adolescentes sexuellement actives de 15 à 19 ans ayant consulté un médecin dans le Nord de la Nouvelle-Écosse au cours de l’année précédente.

Méthode: Des élèves de quatre écoles secondaires situées dans trois comtés du Nord de la Nouvelle-Écosse ont répondu à un questionnaire transversal. Les questions portaient sur les schémas de contraception, le statut socioéconomique et l’utilisation des services de santé, y compris le dépistage du cancer du col. Nous avons examiné les liens des facteurs socioéconomiques et des schémas de contraception avec le fait d’avoir subi un test de dépistage du cancer du col au cours de l’année précédente chez les adolescentes sexuellement actives depuis au moins un an et qui avaient aussi consulté un médecin pendant l’année précédente.

Résultats: Mille quatre-vingt-dix (1 090) adolescentes de 15 à 19 ans ont rempli des questionnaires, soit un taux de réponse de 91 %. Sur les 396 répondantes ayant dit être sexuellement actives et avoir consulté un médecin au cours de l’année précédente (36,3 %), 393 ont fourni de l’information sur le dépistage du cancer du col. Parmi elles, 214 (54,5 %) ont déclaré avoir subi un test de dépistage du cancer du col. Les facteurs associés à ce test étaient le fait de se considérer comme faisant partie d’une famille aisée et le fait de vivre dans une grande ville plutôt que dans une région rurale. Par opposition à la contraception hormonale, l’utilisation d’un condom sans autre moyen contraceptif efficace ou l’absence de tout moyen contraceptif efficace lors de la dernière relation sexuelle avec pénétration étaient négativement associées au dépistage du cancer du col.

Conclusions: Ces constatations donnent à penser que les médecins se basent sur la contraception hormonale pour administrer le test de dépistage du cancer du col aux adolescentes. Or, le dépistage périodique du cancer du col est recommandé pour toutes les adolescentes sexuellement actives; les efforts pour accroître ce type de dépistage devraient prévoir des mesures de perfectionnement professionnel pour permettre aux médecins de reconnaître plus facilement l’activité sexuelle chez les adolescentes.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Faculty of MedicineDalhousie University, Clinical Research CentreHalifaxCanada

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