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People living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLHIV) have an increased risk of cancers. Currently, Botswana has no screening guidelines for common cancers in PLHIV except cervical cancer. Also, the proportion of PLHIV who are screened for cancer is unknown. This study aimed to evaluate cancer screening services for PLHIV receiving care in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) clinics. Resources for cancer screening were assessed and medical records of adults initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) from 2020 to 2021 in 20 high-volume HIV clinics in Gaborone and Francistown were reviewed. Questionnaires assessing knowledge and practices of cancer screening were administered to health workers. The majority of clinics had the required resources for cancer screening (specifically cervical cancer). Of the 62 health workers working at the HIV clinics, 57 (91.9%) completed the questionnaire: 35 (62.5%) nurses and 22 (37.5%) doctors. Only 26.3% of the health workers were trained in cervical cancer screening. Doctors were more likely to report practicing routine screening of other cancers (e.g. breast) (p = 0.003) while more nurses reported assessing patients for cancer history during follow-up visits (p = 0.036). Most health workers did not perform physical examinations to detect cancer at initial or follow-up visits. Of the 1000 records of PLHIV reviewed, 57.3% were females, and only 38% of these were screened for cervical cancer. Besides cervical cancer, almost all (97.8%) were not screened for any cancer at ART initiation and during follow-up. These findings highlight the need to improve cancer screening services of PLHIV in Botswana through the training of health workers, and the development and enhanced use of screening guidelines.

Original publication




Journal article


Health Promot Int

Publication Date





cancer, health workers, human immunodeficiency virus, knowledge, people living with HIV, practice, screening, Humans, Botswana, HIV Infections, Early Detection of Cancer, Female, Adult, Male, Middle Aged, Surveys and Questionnaires, Uterine Cervical Neoplasms, Mass Screening, Health Personnel, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Neoplasms