BACKGROUND: To evaluate the knowledge, perception and attitudes towards human papilloma virus (HPV) among pre-university students in Malaysia.
STUDY DESIGN: In this cross sectional study, between November 2013 to March 2014, in a public university, a convenient sampling method was used. A total of 716 respondents were recruited and interviewed with a set of standard questionnaires for assessment of knowledge, perception and attitudes towards HPV and predictor variables associated with level of knowledge.
RESULTS: Almost half (48.9%) of the respondents scored less than 5 and were categorised as having poor knowledge. Three hundred and twelve (43.6%) respondents had moderate knowledge and only 54 (7.5%) respondents exhibited good knowledge with the score of 11 and above. Only 142 (20%) students perceived themselves to be vulnerable to HPV infection though 560 (78.2%) students thought that HPV infection is a serious disease. Perceived benefits and desire to be vaccinated were significantly associated with gender (p=0.000) and knowledge of HPV vaccine and cervical cancer (p=0.000).
CONCLUSIONS: The level of knowledge regarding HPV among the pre-university students was low. However, student intention for vaccination increased with increasing level of knowledge. Thus, efforts to improve knowledge and awareness should be prioritised to increase uptake of the HPV vaccination programme and hence reduce morbidity and mortality from consequences of HPV infection, including cervical carcinoma.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.