Awareness and knowledge of human papilloma virus in UK women aged 25 years and over: Results from a cross-sectional internet-based survey

Susanna Kola-Palmer, Katie Dhingra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: The expanding use of human papilloma virus (HPV) testing within cervical screening requires an evaluation of public understanding of HPV. This study aimed to explore HPV awareness and knowledge using a previously psychometrically validated measure in a sample of UK women aged 25 years and over. Methods: An anonymous web-based cross-sectional survey design was used, and responses were recorded for 246 women (mean age = 37.59, SD = 9.20). Results: Findings indicated limits to women's understanding of HPV, its transmission, treatment and link with cancer. The mean HPV knowledge score was 9.35 (4.43), and the mean HPV testing score was 3.34 (1.91). Multivariate analyses revealed that information seeking following cervical screening and being a student is associated with higher HPV knowledge and that having a positive HPV test result and having university education is associated with higher HPV testing knowledge. Conclusions: These results highlight that there is a lack of knowledge and misunderstanding relating to HPV and its link with cancer in adult women in the UK. The findings suggest that public health HPV information campaigns are urgently needed, especially with a drop in UK cervical screening attendance rates, and with the upcoming change to HPV primary testing within the UK NHS cervical screening programme.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13181
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Issue number1
Early online date22 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


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