Knowledge and Attitudes of Medical and Non-Medical Turkish University Students about Cervical Cancer and HPV Vaccination


Background: This study was conducted to determine knowledge, attitudes and practices about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination of students studying in various faculties of Erciyes University. Materials and
Methods: The study was performed among the first and fourth grade students of Medicine, Theology, Education and Economics and Administrative Sciences (FEAS) faculties of Erciyes University. It was aimed to reach 1,073 students and 718 were evaluated. A questionnaire consisting of 48 questions related to the socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge, attitude and practices about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination was administered to the students. The chi-square test and logistic regression were used for the statistical analyses.
Results: Of the students, 78.3% were aware of cervical cancer, while 36.1% of them were aware of the HPV vaccine. The percentage hearing about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination was significantly higher among the students of the medical faculty than the others and among fourth grade students comparing with the first grade. The marital status and the presence of a health worker in the family had no significant impact on the knowledge level of the students. The acceptability of the HPV vaccination was low among all students.
Conclusions: The knowledge levels of the university students about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination are inadequate. This deficiency is more pronounced among the non-medical students and there is no significant increase during the faculty years. Non-medical students must be provided with information about important public health issues by elective courses. HPV vaccination could provide many benefits for men and women by decreasing the morbidity and mortality of cervical, anal, and penile cancers.