Awareness and Knowledge of Human Papilloma Virus and Cervical Cancer in Women with High Pap Uptake
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This cross-sectional study explored knowledge, awareness, and health practices surrounding cervical cancer prevention and screening. Patients (n = 129) were recruited from three community clinics of underserved populations in Dallas, Texas. Women between ages 18–65 were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire to evaluate their knowledge, awareness, and attitudes related to pap tests, human papilloma virus (HPV), HPV vaccines, and cervical cancer. Most women reported having a pap test in the past 3–5 years (86.6%). Over half knew that there was an increased risk of cervical cancer with an HPV infection, abnormal pap test, or both (52%). However, less than half of women knew the purpose of a pap test (40%), the purpose of the HPV vaccine (48%), or the transmission mode of HPV (25%). Over half of participants first heard about a pap test from a doctor (60%), about one quarter from their mother (24%), and less than a quarter from others (16%). More than half of women were aware of HPV (55%), while less than half were aware of the HPV vaccine (48%). Overall, we found that while most women had a high uptake of pap tests, they had low knowledge of the purpose of a pap test, the HPV vaccine, and transmission mode of HPV. They also had low awareness of HPV and the HPV vaccine. Given that almost all cases of cervical cancer are due to HPV infection, future studies should aim to further explore the gap between knowledge and awareness of HPV and pap uptake.
KeywordsCervical cancer screening Pap test HPV vaccine Community-based participatory research Underserved
We would like to acknowledge Christina Avila, MD and Amrutha Pavle, MD for their contributions to the study.
Funding was obtained from the Texas Academy of Family Physicians Foundation Research Project Grant.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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