Background: This study assessed human papillomavirus (HPV), cervical cancer, and HPV vaccine knowledgeand awareness among women in two sub-populations in Nepal - Khokana, a traditional Newari village in theLalitpur District about eight kilometers south of Kathmandu, and Sanphebagar, a village development committeewithin Achham District in rural Far-Western Nepal.
Methods: Study participants were recruited during healthcamps conducted by Nepal Fertility Care Center, a Nepali non-governmental organization. Experienced staffadministered a Nepali language survey instrument that included questions on socio-demographics, reproductivehealth and knowledge on HPV, cervical cancer, and the HPV vaccine.
Results: Of the 749 participants, 387 (51.7%)were from Khokana and 362 (48.3%) were from Sanphebagar. Overall, 53.3% (n=372) of women were awareof cervical cancer with a significant difference between Khokana and Sanphebagar (63.3% vs 43.0%; p=0.001).Overall, 15.4% (n=107) of women had heard of HPV and 32% (n=34) of these women reported having heard ofthe HPV vaccine. If freely available, 77.5% of the women reported willingness to have their children vaccinatedagainst HPV. Factors associated with cervical cancer awareness included knowledge of HPV (Khokana: OddsRatio (OR)=24.5; (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 3.1-190.2, Sanphebagar: OR=14.8; 95% CI: 3.7-58.4)) andsexually transmitted infections (Khokana: OR=6.18; 95% CI: 3.1-12.4; Sanphebagar: OR=17.0; 95% CI: 7.3-39.7) among other risk factors.
Conclusions: Knowledge and awareness of HPV, cervical cancer, and the HPVvaccine remains low among women in Khokana and Sanphebagar. Acceptance of a freely available HPV vaccinefor children was high, indicating potentially high uptake rates in these communities.