Background: In addition to screening by Pap smears, vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) can dramatically reduce cervical cancers caused by the virus. The acceptance of HPV vaccination is directly related to HPV knowledge. This research aimed to evaluate knowledge about HPV and vaccination among men and women aged 16-25 years who use the public health system in Brazil.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional, multicenter study of sexually active young adults recruited from 119 primary care units between 2016 and 2017. All participants answered a face-to-face standardized questionnaire.
Results: Of 8581 participants, the mean percentage of correct answers about HPV and vaccination was 51.79% (95% CI 50.90-52.67), but 75.91% (95% CI 74.13-77.69) had awareness of the HPV vaccination. Women answered a higher proportion of questions correctly than men did (p = 0.0003). Lower education level was the variable that most interfered with knowledge. The best information sources for knowledge were both health professionals and the media (1.33%, 95% CI 1.03-1.70).
Conclusions: The results emphasize the importance of educational programs about HPV and vaccination among young adults, especially in socially disadvantaged populations. These findings can help to increase the vaccination rate in the country and to stimulate public health policies.
Keywords: Public health; Sexual health; Sexually transmitted disease; Vaccination.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier B.V.