Objective: To assess the extent to which six sociodemographic variables and three lifestyle practices of women are associated with Pap smear testing, given that cervical cancer is the second leading cause of women’s cancer mortality in Jamaica and that this cancer is preventable with the use of screening methods such as the Pap smear.
Methods: Secondary data from Jamaica’s 2008 Reproductive Health Survey were utilized in the study. The sample consisted of 6123 women aged between 21 and 49 years who were sexually experienced. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine whether age, educational attainment, union status, area of residence, wealth quintile, parity, age of sexual initiation, number of lifetime sexual partners and smoking status could predict the likelihood of Pap smear screening among Jamaican women.
Results: Of the 6123 women, 79.1% had participated in Pap smear screening. It was found that those who were younger, less educated, single, in visiting relationships, of lower wealth quintiles, had fewer children, an early age of sexual initiation, fewer lifetime sexual partners and who formerly smoked were less likely to undergo Pap smear screening.
Conclusion: Policies to increase cervical cancer screening should target women with the characteristics that make them less likely to be screened. Special attention should be directed to poor and uneducated women who are already burdened by their economic and social status. Invitation to screening and periodic small group educational sessions on cervical cancer at public health facilities should also be considered.