Knowledge of Human Papilloma Virus, Cervical Cancer and Cytological Screening and Attitudes towards and Practices of Screening among Undergraduate students at Rajarata University, Sri Lanka : A cross-sectional study
The burden of cervical cancer in Sri Lanka is high and research is limited. The objective was to describe the knowledge of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), cervical cancer and its cytological screening, as well as worry of HPV and attitudes towards and practices of screening among undergraduate students at Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Mihintale.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in January 2015 at Rajarata University, using a self-administrated questionnaire containing socio-demographics, knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP). Male and female undergraduates, 18-30 years, were eligible. Knowledge was assessed by a numerical sum score ranging from 0 to 13, with 13 as maximum. Analyses were performed using ANOVA or Kruskal-Wallis tests.
326 students answered the questionnaire that revealed limited knowledge on cervical cancer, HPV and screening, with a mean score of 5.34 (SD 3.33). Knowledge was higher among older, medical students in the fifth year, however there was a high correlation between these variables. Knowledge was lower among management students. Most students were uncertain about the questions in the attitude section. A majority of students would be worried if they got infected with HPV. Screening practices were low (0.45 %). Approximately half of the women would consider cytological screening in the future.
The limited knowledge, low screening practices and high worry imply a need for information and awareness programs. Further research is needed in order to fully understand the delicacy of this public health threat for Sri Lankan women.
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