Knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in the USA, the UK and Australia: an international survey

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Abstract

Objective

To measure knowledge and awareness of human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in the USA, the UK and Australia.

Methods

Participants in the USA, UK and Australia completed an anonymous web-based survey measuring awareness and knowledge of HPV (n=2409). We report analyses on a subsample of 1473 men and women in the USA (n=617), UK (n=404) and Australia (n=452) who had heard of HPV and completed questions about HPV testing.

Results

Overall, 50% of the sample (742/1473) had heard of HPV testing. Awareness of HPV testing was higher in the USA (62%) than in the UK (44%) and Australia (40%) (p<0.001). Among those who had heard of HPV testing, the mean knowledge score (out of 6) was 2.78 (SD: 1.49). No significant differences in knowledge score were found between the countries but, overall, women scored significantly higher than men (2.96 vs 2.52, p<0.001).

Conclusions

Awareness of HPV testing among people who have heard of HPV is higher in the USA than in the UK and Australia, but overall knowledge is low. This has important implications in those countries where HPV testing is being used in cervical screening. Increasing knowledge about the implications of HPV test results may help minimise any negative psychological consequences associated with HPV testing. Raising awareness in men could become increasingly important if HPV testing is introduced into the management of other cancers where HPV plays an aetiological role.

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