Assessing Women's Knowledge of HPV and Willingness to Undergo At-Home HPV Self-Testing

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2020

Authors

Thompson, Erika
Nazim, Asad

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Abstract

Purpose: At-home self-testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) may be a strategy for increasing access to cervical cancer screening. This project aimed to examine the correlation between women's knowledge of HPV and willingness to self-test for HPV. Methods: An online survey (n=725) of women aged 30-65 who had not had a hysterectomy was conducted in June 2018. Survey items assessed HPV knowledge using 16 items (α=0.82) and willingness to undergo HPV self-testing. The participants were categorized into a willing or unwilling to self-test group according to their willingness score. Correct responses to the true/false HPV knowledge questions were used to create knowledge scores. Results: Most women (59.59%) were either very willing or somewhat willing to have at-home self-testing. The mean HPV knowledge of the willing group was 9.38 (out of 16), and the mean HPV knowledge of the unwilling group was 8.62, meaning the willing group was more knowledgeable. There was a significant association between HPV knowledge and willingness to self-test (p< 0.05). The largest differences in HPV knowledge between the willing and unwilling groups pertained to HPV characteristics, such as symptoms, modes of transmission, and risk factors. Conclusions: The results indicate that HPV knowledge and willingness to self-test are statistically associated. Knowledge of HPV may be a needed first-step in promoting HPV self-testing for cervical cancer screening in rural areas. Increasing HPV education efforts could increase the willingness to self-test and reduce the number of cervical cancer cases.

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