A survey on human papillomavirus awareness and acceptance of vaccination among nursing students in a tertiary hospital in Ankara, Turkey

Özlem Uzunlar, Şebnem Özyer, Eralp Başer, Cihan Toğrul, Müjdegül Karaca, Tayfun Güngör
Vaccine 2013 April 19, 31 (17): 2191-5

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess the awareness and knowledge regarding human papillomavirus (HPV), HPV related conditions and HPV vaccine among nursing students, and to identify their attitudes towards HPV vaccination.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was carried out at a tertiary Women's Health Care Center in Ankara, Turkey. Self-administered questionnaires were filled out individually by the nursing students and by a control group including similar aged women. Data regarding demographic information, knowledge and awareness about HPV infection and HPV vaccine, attitudes towards vaccination, acceptance of HPV vaccine and assessment of HPV vaccination attitudes of the nurses with respect to the gender of their children was assessed and recorded.

RESULTS: A total of 752 participants was included in the analysis. Five hundred and twenty (69.14%) of the participants were nursing students and the rest (n=232; 30.8%) were control group. The mean ages of the nursing students and the control group were 19.4 (16-27) and 19.4 (16-25) years, respectively. Majority of the nursing students knew the causal relationship between HPV and cervical cancer. Seventy-eight percent of the nursing students and 22.4% of the control group stated that they had heard of HPV vaccine. While the rate of the willingness to be vaccinated was 33.7% in the nursing student group, it was only 13.4% in the control group.

CONCLUSION: The awareness and knowledge about HPV, its relation with cervical cancer and prevention of cervical cancer by HPV vaccine were favorable among nursing students at a tertiary hospital in Ankara, Turkey. However, although aware of the theoretical implications, they did not seem to apply it to practice, such as not having regular gynecologic examinations and Pap smears. Thus, further studies are needed to evaluate the factors that affect practical applications of health care professionals responsible for providing health education to the public.

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