Women's knowledge about human papillomavirus and their acceptance of HPV vaccine


: Dr Polat Dursun, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Baskent University, Kubilay Sk., No. 36 Maltepe, Ankara, Turkey. Email: pdursun@yahoo.com


Objective: Recently, prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines were approved in the USA and Europe to protect against HPV-related disease. However, there is ongoing debate about the acceptance of the HPV vaccine as a part of routine vaccine scheme. The aim of this study is to determine the baseline knowledge Turkish women have about HPV and prophylactic HPV vaccines.

Method:  The study included 1434 women from four different cities of Turkey who completed a 22-item questionnaire that assessed their knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer, and their acceptance of HPV vaccine for themselves and their children.

Results:  The median age was 35.8 ± 10.8 years (range: 17–80 years). In all, 12% of the participants had a past history of an abnormal Pap test. Among the participants, 77% believed that sex education should be provided at school, 45% had heard of HPV and 55% had no knowledge about HPV. It was known by 43% of the women that HPV might cause genital lesions. Of the parents, 40% knew HPV is related to cervical cancer, while 34% had no opinion about the subject. Of the parents interviewed, 70% reported they would accept HPV vaccination for themselves, 64% for their daughters and 59% for their sons.

Conclusion:  Although less than half of the women had knowledge about HPV, the majority of the women sampled reported that they would accept vaccination for themselves and their children. Health-care providers must focus not only on the diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer, but must also provide information and education about HPV to women.