Human Papillomavirus infection is sexually transmitted and associated with several cancers, such as cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, head and neck, anal, and penile carcinoma. Health education plays a pivotal role in building knowledge and positive attitude about health issues.
The current study aimed at assessing the knowledge of final and pre-final students of colleges of medicine and nursing.
This cross-sectional study was performed between September 2017 and December 2017. The project was carried out in the College of Nursing and Azadi Teaching Hospital of Duhok, Iraq. An HPV knowledge questionnaire was used covering three HPV-related subjects, including cervical cancer-HPV association, HPV features, and HPV vaccines. All final and pre-final students of the college of medicine and nursing were recruited.
In cervical cancer-HPV association knowledge dimension, which composed of four questions, there were significant differences in knowledge regarding HPV-cancer association (77.6% for medical students versus 51.6% for nursing students, P < 0.001) and cancer prevention (81.9% versus 38.7%, P < 0.001), when the correct answers were stratified according to college. When the answers were stratified according to the study years, significant differences were found in awareness about the detection of HPV in cervical cancer between pre-final and final year students in college of medicine (68.3% for pre-final versus 87.5% for final P = 0.02) and college of nursing (33.3% versus 72.4%, P < 0.001). Then, the researchers tested awareness of HPV features and there were significant differences in the awareness of students between both colleges (P < 0.01 for all questions). A significant difference was found between males and females when they were asked about the genotypes and cervical cancer (67.3% for males versus 78% for females P = 0.043). Finally, this research tested the awareness of students about HPV vaccine. The participants were asked whether HPV vaccine protects against all STD; 81.9% of medical students and 60.5% of nursing students gave correct answers (P < 0.001).
The knowledge of students varied according to college, study year, and gender. Attention must be paid to HPV and quick revision is mandated to increase the awareness of students.