Pap test results among low-income youth: prevalence of dysplasia and practice implications.

Linda L. Halcón, Alan R. Lifson, Marcia Shew, Marilyn Joseph, Peter J. Hannan, Charles R. Hayman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To describe Papanicolaou (Pap) test findings and identify prevalence and correlates of dysplastic cervical abnormalities in low-income adolescent females. DESIGN AND SETTING: This cross-sectional study included a modified random sample of female students ages 16 to 25 years at 54 U.S. Job Corps centers. PARTICIPANTS: 5,734 female students enrolled in a federal job training program. Admission health records were reviewed and abstracted. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Pap test findings using the Bethesda classifications. Pap smear results indicating dysplasia (atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance [ASCUS] with dysplasia) or squamous intraepithelial lesions (low-grade squamous interepithelial lesions [LGSIL] or high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions [HGSIL]). Participants with less severe findings were compared with those who needed follow-up. RESULTS: For 71.4% of participants, no abnormalities were found. 15.6% had benign cellular changes, 9.2% had reactive changes, and 9.9% had epithelial cell abnormalities. Of those tested, 5.6% (+/- 0.8%) had dysplastic Pap smear findings, with 0.3% (n = 12) HGSIL. All groups were equally affected, with abnormalities not associated with race/ethnicity, age, geographic region, education level, size of city of residence, or receiving public assistance. CONCLUSIONS: In this population, dysplastic Pap smear results were not uncommon. Findings indicate that Pap screening, alone or in combination with more sensitive tests, can identify cervical abnormalities, including HGSIL, that suggest a need for further evaluation or follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-304
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of obstetric, gynecologic, and neonatal nursing : JOGNN / NAACOG
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by grant #S236-15/15 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Association of Schools of Public Health.


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