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Knowledge and Beliefs About Cervical Cancer and Human Papillomavirus Among Taiwanese Undergraduate Women

Yu-Yun Hsu
Ya-Min Cheng
Keng-Fu Hsu
Susan Jane Fetzer
Cheng-Yang Chou
ONF 2011, 38(4), E297-E304 DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.E297-E304

Purpose/Objectives: To assess knowledge and attitudes regarding cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV) among undergraduate women in Taiwan.

Design: A descriptive cross-sectional design.

Setting: Five universities in southern Taiwan.

Sample: 953 undergraduate women aged 17-36 years.

Methods: The self-administered HPV Belief questionnaire was used to collect data on knowledge and beliefs regarding cervical cancer, Pap testing, and HPV.

Main Research Variables: Knowledge, beliefs, cervical cancer, Pap testing, HPV, likelihood of cervical cancer, and HPV infection.

Findings: Seventy percent of participants agreed that cervical cancer could be prevented and was a severe disease, and 80% knew the purpose of Pap testing. Forty-nine percent were aware of HPV. Undergraduate women with an awareness of HPV were more likely to be older, studying a health-related major, have a higher class standing, have a personal history of gynecologic visits, and have had a Pap test. Neither family history of gynecologic cancer nor sexual experience predicted HPV awareness, although sexual experience had a significant association with the knowledge and beliefs of cervical cancer. Most of the undergraduate women believed themselves unlikely to acquire cervical cancer or HPV infection.

Conclusions: Undergraduate women in Taiwan have limited knowledge of cervical cancer and HPV. Awareness of the likelihood of HPV infection is low among undergraduate women, even those who are sexually active.

Implications for Nursing: Educational campaigns focusing on cervical cancer screening and HPV infection are needed, particularly for sexually active undergraduate women.

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