Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Acceptability among Female University Students in South Africa


Background: The objectives of this present study were to assess the awareness of cervical cancer and its riskfactors among female undergraduates in South Africa, and to determine the their level of acceptability of HumanPapillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. Materials and
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in March2013 among 440 full time undergraduate female students.
Results: Of those students who never had sex (n=163),96 (58.9%) had ever heard of cervical cancer and only 12 students (12.5%) knew that HPV causes cervical cancer.More than a third (35.4%) of the students correctly said that sexual intercourse before age of 18 years is a riskfactor for cervical cancer and 55.2% of the students knew about the Pap smear test which is used for screeningcervical cancer. The majority (77.3%) were willing to accept HPV vaccination. Results revealed that students whoknew about the Pap smear test, and were aware that having multiple sex partners, sexual intercourse before theage of 18 years, smoking and having contracted any STDs are risk factors for cervical cancer were more likelyto accept HPV vaccination compared to other groups.
Conclusions: The general knowledge of South Africanfemale university students about cervical cancer is not sufficient but they have positive attitudes toward gettingvaccinated with the HPV vaccine.