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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 1849-1855

Human papillomavirus and its vaccination: Knowledge and attitudes among female university students in Saudi Arabia

Department of Family Medicine and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Hail, Hail, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Tahani Altamimi
Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Hail, Hail
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1205_19

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Context: College students worldwide have low levels of knowledge on human papillomavirus (HPV)-related diseases, highlighting the lack of awareness about HPV infection. To date, no study has examined the level of knowledge of cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine in the northern region of Saudi Arabia. Aim: This study aimed to assess the level of knowledge of cervical cancer and its risk factors, as well as HPV vaccine acceptance among female students in Saudi Arabia enrolled in health colleges. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted using a valid and reliable self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire was completed by 966 female students enrolled at the University of Hail, northern region of Saudi Arabia, with a response rate of 83.5%. The main outcome measure was the identification of the knowledge gap pertaining to HPV infection and its prophylactic vaccine. Results: The findings highlighted a lack of knowledge about cervical cancer, Pap smears, and HPV vaccine among most female university students. The knowledge score positively correlated to the duration of education. Students enrolled in applied medical science and medical colleges showed significantly higher knowledge scores, as did students in their senior academic years. Vaccine uptake barriers included concerns about its side effects and a lack of information. Conclusions: Our findings can be used to formulate effective future awareness programs in the northern region of Saudi Arabia. A larger number of educational programs are required to enlighten Saudi women about cervical cancer and its prophylactic vaccine, including the benefits of screening programs and prevention strategies.

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