HPV Vaccine “Chatter”

British Columbian Women and their Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs regarding the Human Papillomavirus

By Lisa Venables

The discovery of the known association of human papillomavirus (HPV) to
cervical cancer and the development and release of a cancer vaccine has changed
how we view cervical cancer. Research examining the knowledge, attitudes,
and beliefs about HPV, Pap screening, and cervical cancer was conducted prior to the
vaccine release and has resulted in the current public education, media attention, and debate around the HPV vaccine.

Previous research indicated that women were not well informed about HPV and cervical cancer screening. Certain groups of women are at particular risk for cervical cancer due tounderutilization of Pap screening, age and exposure to HPV, a lack of knowledge about the association between HPV and cervical cancer, cultural influences on women’s health, and/or inadequate access to appropriate health care. The deluge of National and Provincial attention surrounding HPV and the HPV vaccine has resulted in a wide spread “chatter” amongst the general public, health care professionals, the media, lay journalists, politicians, and religious leaders.

The primary object of this study is to describe women’s current knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs around HPV and intent to have Pap screens in light of the recent “chatter” around HPV and the HPV vaccine. The proposed study provides an opportunity to examine these concepts from a British Columbia (BC) perspective with inclusion of women from high risk groups, specifically, women over the age of 26 and Northern BC, rural BC, First Nations, South Asian, and Chinese women.

A prospective, cross-sectional cohort of 200 women age 26 years and older
will be recruited with stratified sampling from Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, and the
Prince George area. Women will complete a self administered questionnaire available in
English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, and Punjabi. Analysis will be primarily descriptive.
The information obtained during this study will provide health care educators,
professionals, policy makers, and communities with insight regarding at risk women’s
knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of HPV, Pap screening, and the HPV vaccine in light
of the recent “HPV chatter” so that appropriate educational programs can be developed
and implemented.

If you are interested in taking part in this ground-breaking study, you can email us at whribc@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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