Objective. The objective of this study was to determine whether the presence of cervicitis influenced the accuracy of visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA).
Materials and Methods. In a pilot study, 502 women from rural El Salvador were screened for cervical cancer using methods including colposcopy and VIA. The presence of cervicitis was assessed by grading the amount of inflammation on each woman's cervical biopsy. Data from 495 women found to be free of cervical neoplasia were analyzed for the present study.
Results. In this study population, 74% of women were classified as having cervicitis. Both the result of visual inspection and the result of colposcopy were highly associated with the presence of cervicitis (p =.007 and p =.006, respectively). Women with cervicitis were twice as likely to have a positive VIA result as women without cervicitis (odds ratio = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.0-3.7).
Conclusions. The presence of cervicitis may influence the accuracy of results obtained from colposcopy and VIA. This observation may be of particular importance in low-resource settings such as El Salvador where visual inspection methods are more commonly used in screening for cervical cancer.