Introduction: Increasing prevalence of human papilloma virus (HPV) infection and its association withcervical cancer as a leading cause of death make it necessary to evaluate and improve the public knowledge,especially of university students, about this cause of disease.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of knowledgeand attitude of a total 669 students from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences was therefore performed witha modified validated questionnaire, arranged into 5 parts and containing 55 questions, in July 2011. Questionswere directed to study socio-demographic characteristics of the participant, knowledge about HPV disease,transmission route, relationship with cervical cancer, predisposing factors, and participants attitude towardpeople with HPV infection.
Results: All of the participants were Moslem with a mean age 25.6±5.33 years of age.All of the participants had heard of HPV, and acquired their knowledge through university courses (90.6%); themajority of them knew that HPV is a sexually transmitted disease and a potential cause for genital warts butgeneral knowledge about details was not high. Mean knowledge score of residents and post graduate midwiferyand nursing students was high as compared to other groups (P<0.001). Statements that indicated the presence offear to communicate with people suffering HPV and people’s avoidance to rely on babysitting of these patientswere observed. Educational level (β=0.21, P<0.001), age (β=0.18, P=0.002,) and smoking (β=-0.11, P=0.006) werepredicted to effect knowledge.
Conclusions: Moderate level of knowledge about HPV among medical universitystudents makes it necessary to set effective national public health efforts on HPV education and preventionconsidering he excess of young population in Iran vulnerable to cervical cancer.