VISUAL inspection of the cervix with ascetic acid can also have false positives, says Cervical Cancer Prevention Program project manager Karolina Tamani.
Ms Tamani said 10 to 12 per cent of women screened were either positive or false positive for HPV virus whereas pap smears confirmed 2 to 5 per cent of the population were positive or false positive for the virus.
"Women screened with false positive are better than women not screened at all," she said.
"Cancer screening program is meant for high-risk populations only.
"We do not want to replace pap smears with VIA but rather use this method as a complimentary screening tool to have a better impact on cervical cancer."
Ms Tamani said the VIA screening method was cost-effective and accessible and it allowed them to carry equipment to rural areas and gave patients results immediately.
"The process does not require laboratory equipment or confirmation and it is easy to train nurses with the method of screening.
"One week training is sufficient for nurses and medical personnel to learn how to perform VIA and Cryotherapy.
"VIA screening involves counselling, visual inspection of the cervix and identifying the presence of squamo-columnar junction (SCJ) before acetic acid (4 per cent solution) is applied to the cervix for a minute."
Ms Tamani said this also included the inspection of cervix for lesions where a raised, opaque aceto-white lesion would confirm a positive HPV infection.
"We discuss the results of tests with patients offering treatment options to them.
"If lesions are confirmed, the patient can be referred to Suva for cryotherapy, which is the freezing of infected cervical cells using carbon dioxide.
"Women eligible for VIA screening should be aged 30-50 years old, not pregnant, have no prior history of cervical surgery, to present a non-suspicious looking cervix and a clearly identifiable squamo-columnar junction."