Department of Family Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Kubang kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia
Background Cervical cancer though preventable is still the leading cause of cancer death among women secondary to breast cancer. Persistent infection with HPV has been causally linked to the disease. A school based HPV vaccination program was introduced in late 2010 in Malaysia and nurse support is essential for its success. Objectives To determine nurses knowledge and attitudes about HPV infection and its vaccines, and factors associated with their knowledge. Materials and Methods This cross-sectional study was conducted among nurses working at primary health clinics in Kelantan from mid-June till the end of July 2014. Its involved 330 nurses selected through multistage random sampling. A validated self-administered questionnaire consisting of 11 items for the knowledge domain and eight items for the attitude domain was used. Results The response rate of the study was 93.7%. The mean knowledge and mean attitude (SD) scores were 5.37 (1.76) and 29.8 (3.51) respectively. Only 24% knew that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection and 67% correctly answered that Gardasil vaccine can protect against four types of HPV. Nearly 60% of participants wrongly answered that HPV vaccines cannot be offered to sexually active women. Likewise, 70.9% participants were not aware that HPV vaccine may be appropriate for females aged 9 through 26 years. Though 90% of participants believed that the vaccine is safe, nearly half of them were unsure about efficacy. From multiple linear regression analysis, among the factors tested only participant's level of education showed a statistically significant association with the HPV knowledge score (<0.001). Conclusions This study indicates nurses have favorable attitudes towards HPV vaccination; however they have significant knowledge deficit and major misunderstanding in critical knowledge items. Among the factors tested, nursing qualification is the only factor that is significantly associated with the nurses knowledge score.