Awareness, knowledge, attitude and practices regarding human papilloma virus among female students at the University of Namibia

Hans Justus Amukugo, Blessing Rufaro Rungayi, Abel Karera


Purpose: The high prevalence of human papilloma virus (HPV) infection and its association with cervical cancer (as one of the leading causes of death in Namibia) makes it important to determine the level of understanding as well as beliefs of the public regarding HPV, especially that of young university female students. The purpose of the study was to determine awareness, knowledge, attitude and practices regarding HPV, among female students at the University of Namibia.

Methods: A quantitative cross sectional research design was adopted using a convenient sample of 126 female students from the 534 females at the health sciences faculty, University of Namibia, Main Campus. Data was collected using a modified, adopted self-administered questionnaire and analysed using Microsoft Excel 2013.

Results: The majority of participants were below 25 years (79.1%), single (91.7%) and nursing students (93.3%). HPV awareness was generally high with the majority aware of HPV infection (71%), cervical cancer (94.2%), genital warts (90%) and HPV vaccine (54.2%). Only 40% knew that HPV could be transmitted through skin to skin contact and only 9.2% knew that HPV was not associated with herpes. Attitude towards HPV was positive, 55% believed they were at risk of HPV and 82% were willing to receive the HPV vaccine. Practices regarding HPV were poor, 68% were sexually active, 40% reported using condoms sometimes, 7% never used condoms at all and 75% had never had a Pap smear test done.

Conclusions: Level of awareness and knowledge of HPV, its related diseases and vaccines was moderate to high, attitude was generally positive whilst practice was poor among female students at the health sciences faculty, University of Namibia. Students need to be encouraged to engage in safe sexual practice to prevent and reduce risk of HPV infection.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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