Knowledge and awareness of cervical cancer, its prevention and attitude towards human papillomavirus vaccine among medical students

Jenitha B., Subbiah M., Revwathy S.


Background: Cervical cancer is still one of the most common cancers affecting females in India, leading to a lot of mortality and morbidity. The objective of this study was to assess the awareness of the human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and vaccination among the medical students of a tertiary care teaching hospital.

Methods: A total 300 final year I and II medical students were requested to complete a questionnaire regarding cervical cancer, primary and secondary preventive measures and attitude of students towards HPV vaccination and the answers were then analysed.

Results: Among 300 medical students, 46.6% were males and 53.4% were females. Most of them were aware of the common risk factors like early marriage (92.7%), multiple partners (99%), multiparity (83.3%) and HPV exposure (85.7%). Most were aware of the cervical cancer symptoms like offensive vaginal discharge (70%), irregular vaginal bleeding (92.7%) and postcoital bleeding (80.3%). 90% were aware that cervical cancer is preventable and 74% were aware that vaccine is available in India. 70% were aware about the best age to vaccinate is 9-13 years. About 10% were already vaccinated and all were females. Out of 270 students who have not administered HPV vaccine, 53.4% didn’t take the vaccine because of lack of awareness. High cost (18.8%), fear of side effects (13.8%) and doubt on efficacy (14%) were the other reasons reported for non-administration of vaccines.

Conclusions: The study showed that there were gaps in knowledge regarding HPV infection and vaccination existed amongst the medical students. So, awareness among the students should be created and a more integrated teaching regarding various aspects of HPV infection, cervical cancers and its prevention needs to be introduced in the medical education system.


Attitude, Awareness, Cervical cancer, Human papilloma virus infection, Human papilloma virus vaccine

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