Knowledge differences between male and female university students about human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer: Implications for health strategies and vaccination

Vaccine. 2010 Dec 16;29(2):153-60. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2010.10.068. Epub 2010 Nov 4.


Knowledge about HPV and cervical cancer (CC) depends on several factors such as gender and education, which brings implications for health strategies and vaccination. A survey was conducted in Portugal with a representative sample of 1706 university students. Only 55.4% (n=945) had already heard of HPV, although 88.3% (n=834) from that know that is a risk factor for CC. 89% students (n=841) wants to be vaccinated against it, but only 13.8% stated as main reason to be vaccinated "prevention of the disease". Mean scores of knowledge were calculated. Statistical differences were found, regarding "CC knowledge", in gender (p<0.001) and between health sciences schools and non-health sciences schools (p<0.001). Differences regarding the study area in "knowledge and beliefs of HPV" (p<0.001) and in "relation between HPV and CC" (p<0.001) were found. Therefore, these differences may help to develop effective strategies that lead to decline CC incidence and mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / immunology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Portugal
  • Students*
  • Universities
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines