Awareness of HPV and Cervical Cancer Prevention Among University Health Sciences Students in Cyprus
Cervical cancer is preventable; however, despite the existence of primary and secondary means of prevention, its incidence is still higher in certain socioeconomic groups and countries, suggesting gaps in cervical cancer prevention. The objective of this study was to evaluate the knowledge and awareness of health sciences university students in Cyprus regarding HPV and cervical cancer in order to better guide the future development of educational programs to improve cervical cancer prevention. This was a cross-sectional study of 178 university health sciences students in Cyprus using a validated questionnaire on HPV and cervical cancer prevention. Analysis of the completed questionnaires revealed moderate levels of knowledge and awareness with an overall mean score of 23.32 out of 33 on HPV and 8.12 out of 13 on cervical cancer, a score of 9.25 out of 14 on HPV vaccines, and a score of 5.93 out of 9 on cervical cancer screening. Older students achieved higher scores compared to younger students (mean score of 6.76 for 18–22 years old, 9.44 for 23–28 years old, and 10.25 for 29–38 years old; p < 0.001). The study found several gaps in the students’ knowledge and awareness on cervical cancer prevention. We suggest the design of education programs targeting this population possibly by incorporation of cervical cancer prevention education within students’ curriculum to increase knowledge such that the spread of the virus is minimized and these health sciences students are prepared to educate their communities as part of their future practice in health professions.
KeywordsCervical cancer HPV Screening Awareness HPV vaccine
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The study was approved by the Cyprus National Bioethics Committee, the University of Nicosia Research Bioethics committee, and the Cyprus government data protection office. Permission to deliver the questionnaires at the participating universities was obtained from each university’s Dean’s office. Students also received a written explanation of the study aims before consenting to participate.
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