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 2013to March 2014, in a public university, a convenient sampling method was used. A total of 716 respondents wererecruited and interviewed with a set of standard questionnaires for assessment of knowledge, perception andattitudes 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 withthe score of 11 and above. Only 142 (20%) students perceived themselves to be vulnerable to HPV infectionthough 560 (78.2%) students thought that HPV infection is a serious disease. Perceived benefits and desire tobe vaccinated were significantly associated with gender (p=0.000) and knowledge of HPV vaccine and cervicalcancer (p=0.000).
Conclusions: The level of knowledge regarding HPV among the pre-university students waslow. However, student intention for vaccination increased with increasing level of knowledge. Thus, efforts toimprove knowledge and awareness should be prioritised to increase uptake of the HPV vaccination programmeand hence reduce morbidity and mortality from consequences of HPV infection, including cervical carcinoma.