Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine may reduce the incidence of cervical cancer caused by oncogenic HPV serotypes. Public education is integral to ensure adequate vaccine uptake. We explored knowledge and attitudes towards HPV and HPV vaccine in a Caribbean population.METHODS:
Participants (n=403) were recruited from clinics across Grand Bahama. Consenting participants anonymously completed a self-administered, validated questionnaire with 51 questions (Cronbach alpha>0.7). Following descriptive analysis, ANOVA and t test were used to determine the association between total HPV-related knowledge and demographic variables. All data were analyzed using Stata v13.RESULTS:
The majority of the sample was 18–35 years (n=214; 53.1%), black (n=369; 91.6%), with 301 (76.2%) sexually active and 223 (55.3%) being parents. Total HPV-related knowledge was scored out of 8. Approximately half of the sample (n=170; 47.1%) received a score of 0. Mean HPV-related knowledge score was 1.6 (standard deviation: 2.1). Higher HPV-related knowledge was seen in younger, educated and higher household income associated with lower HPV-related knowledge scores (P=.02, P<.0001, P<.0001, respectively). Under one-fifth (19.6%) of the population knew that HPV caused cervical cancer. Only 93 (23.9%) participants had heard of the HPV vaccine. The majority of those knowledgeable about the vaccine would recommend it to others (77%); of whom most (>80%) thought reassurance on efficacy and safety were still needed.CONCLUSION:
This study found low levels of HPV and HPV-vaccine related knowledge in a predominantly black population. Public education is imperative to increase awareness, likely increase HPV vaccine uptake and thereby reduce cervical cancer incidence.