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Cross sectional study of knowledge of cervical cancer and awareness, knowledge and vaccine acceptance human papillomavirus vaccine among school girls of government and private school of Central India

Sachin Parmar, Bhagwan Waskel, Sanjay Dixit, Geeta Shivram, Ananad Patidar, Sreelakshmi Suresh Babu, Vipin patel.

Background: Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide and in India, it is the number one killer cancer among women. About 500,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer contributing to around 270,000 deaths, across the globe every year. Out of these, the burden of 230,000 (85%) deaths is owned by developing countries, with bare minimal resources to cope with the situation. In India alone there are an estimated 132,000 new cases and 74,000 deaths each year. The discovery that human papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for virtually all cervical cancers opens exciting new possibilities for controlling this disease.
Methods: Randomly 300 girls were selected from private and government schools of central India aged between 16-18 years a semi structured questionnaire was provided to asses’ knowledge of cervical cancer and awareness, knowledge and vaccine acceptance HPV vaccine among the school girls.
Results: Total 85% of the students are aware about cervical cancer overall. (80% of Government school students and 90% of the private school students) but only 43% of the students have heard about HPV overall,53% of the students know that cervical cancer is preventable, and 54% of Pvt. School students know that it is preventable. 50% of the students are aware that there are screening methods for cervical cancer, only 3% of the students are aware of all the modes of transmission and 72% are aware about Sexual intercourse is mode of transmission. 39.3% are aware that multiple sexual partners are a risk factor for HPV infection and 38.2% are aware that unprotected sexual intercourse is a risk factor. Only 8.9% are aware that first intercourse at young age is a risk factor and only 13.45% are aware that other STDs are also a risk factor for HPV infection, 55% of the students was aware about availability of vaccine against HPV. 54% of the students are not aware that the vaccine is available in India.
Conclusions: The low level of knowledge indicates that the larger population of less educated women is in greater lack of awareness. During this survey we accessed a population that has not been widely studied and our observations leads to conclude that the absence of an active national cervical screening and awareness program has resulted in the lack of basic knowledge about important risk factors for cervix cancer even among the literate population of school girls.

Key words: Cervical cancer, HPV

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