Bolivian health providers' attitudes toward alternative technologies for cervical cancer prevention: a focus on visual inspection with acetic acid and cryotherapy

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Aug;21(8):801-8. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2012.3796. Epub 2012 Jul 20.


Background: Little is known about health providers' attitudes toward visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) and cryotherapy in the prevention of cervical cancer, as most research in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has examined attitudes of the general population. This study describes attitudes of Bolivian health professionals toward new technologies for cervical cancer prevention, focusing on VIA and cryotherapy.

Methods: Between February 2011 and March 2012, we surveyed 7 nurses and 35 physicians who participated in 5-day workshops on VIA and cryotherapy conducted in Bolivia. Multiple choice and open-ended questions were used to assess participants' acceptability of these procedures and the feasibility of their implementation in the context of perceived barriers for the early detection of cervical cancer in this country.

Results: Most believed that cultural factors represent the main barrier for the early detection of cervical cancer (70%), although all stated that VIA and cryotherapy would be accepted by women, citing the advantages of VIA over cytology for this belief. Most also believed their colleagues would accept VIA and cryotherapy (71%) and that VIA should replace Pap testing (61%), reiterating the advantages of VIA for these beliefs. Those who believed the contrary expressed a general resistance to change associated with an already existing cytology program and national norms prioritizing Pap testing.

Conclusions: Most participants had favorable attitudes toward VIA and cryotherapy; however, a sizable minority cited challenges to their adoption by colleagues and believed VIA should not replace cytology. This report can inform the development of strategies to expand the use of alternative cervical cancer screening methods in LAC and Bolivia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid*
  • Adult
  • Bolivia
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cryotherapy*
  • Cultural Competency / psychology
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / psychology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Indicators and Reagents*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Infections / therapy
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / therapy
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Acetic Acid