HPV, Cervical Cancer and Pap Test Related Knowledge Among a Sample of Female Dental Students in India


Background: The present study was designed to ascertain knowledge about HPV, cervical cancer (CC) andthe Pap test among female dental students of Panineeya Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Hyderabad,India. Materials and
Methods: A self-administered questionnaire covering demographic details, knowledgerelating to human papilloma virus (HPV) (8 items), cervical cancer (4 items) and the Pap smear (6 items) wasemployed. Responses were coded as “True, False and Don’t Know”. Mean and standard deviation (SD) for correctanswers and levels of knowledge were determined.
Results: Based on the year of study, significant differences inknowledge of HPV werenoted for questions on symptoms (p=0.01); transmission from asymptomatic partners(p=0.002); treatment with antibiotics (p=0.002); start of sexual activity (p=0.004); and recommended age for HPVvaccination (p=0.01). For knowledge regarding CC, significance was observed for the age group being affected(p=0.008) and symptoms of the disease in early stages (p=0.001). Indications for Pap smear tests like symptoms’ ofvaginal discharge (p=0.002), marital status (p=0.01) and women with children (p=0.02) had significant differencebased on the year of study. Based on religion, transmission of HPV via pregnancy, HPV related diseases exceptCC and preventive measures except condom use and oral contraceptives showed significant differences. However,significant variation with religion was observed only for two preventive measures of CC (Pap test; p=0.004) andHPV vaccination (p=0.003). Likewise, only the frequency of Pap test showed a significant difference for religion(p=0.001).
Conclusions: This study emphasizes the lack of awareness with regard to HPV, CC and screeningwith pap smear even among health professionals. Hence, regular health campaigns are essential to reduce thedisease burden