Women's knowledge of Pap smear test and human papillomavirus: acceptance of HPV vaccination to themselves and their daughters in an Islamic society

Erdin Ilter, Aygen Celik, Berna Haliloglu, Elif Unlugedik, Ahmet Midi, Tonguc Gunduz, Umit Ozekici
International Journal of Gynecological Cancer 2010, 20 (6): 1058-62

OBJECTIVE: Cancer of cervix uteri is the second most common cancer among women, and it has been shown to be caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in more than 99% of cases. We surveyed Muslim Turkish women, who mostly accept talking about sex as a taboo, to examine their knowledge about Papanicolaou (Pap) smear test, HPV, HPV vaccine, and their attitude toward vaccination to themselves and their daughters.

METHODS: We surveyed 525 women aged between 19 and 53 years to examine their knowledge about cervical cancer screening Pap smear test, HPV, HPV vaccine, and their attitude toward vaccination to themselves and their daughters with a questionnaire that is consisted of 5 parts with a total of 31 items.

RESULTS: The knowledge of cervical screening was high (70%), and 51% of the subjects were at least once had a Pap smear test, but most respondents (56%) had never heard of HPV. For most women, recommendations from health workers (67%) were the major influences in deciding to get vaccinated.

CONCLUSIONS: The importance of successful introduction on the vaccine by the drug providers and health care professionals in Turkey was shown in this present study with a high rate of awareness of cervical cancer vaccine. "Early-age vaccination knowledge" before any sexual contact is probably due to the correct education of mothers by health care professionals. The professionals should be educated and trained about HPV, vaccination, and its relation with cervical cancer to increase the knowledge about it.

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