Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Concerning Human Papilloma Virus Infection and its Health Effects among Rural Women, Karnataka, South India.
BACKGROUND This study assessed human papillomavirus (HPV), cervical cancer, and HPV vaccine knowledge and awareness among women in two sub-populations in Nepal - Khokana, a traditional Newari village in the Lalitpur District about eight kilometers south of Kathmandu, and Sanphebagar, a village development committee within Achham District in rural Far-Western Nepal. METHODS Study participants were recruited during health camps conducted by Nepal Fertility Care Center, a Nepali non-governmental organization. Experienced staff administered a Nepali language survey instrument that included questions on socio-demographics, reproductive health and knowledge on HPV, cervical cancer, and the HPV vaccine. RESULTS Of the 749 participants, 387 (51.7%) were from Khokana and 362 (48.3%) were from Sanphebagar. Overall, 53.3% (n=372) of women were aware of cervical cancer with a significant difference between Khokana and Sanphebagar (63.3% vs 43.0%; p=0.001). Overall, 15.4% (n=107) of women had heard of HPV and 32% (n=34) of these women reported having heard of the HPV vaccine. If freely available, 77.5% of the women reported willingness to have their children vaccinated against HPV. Factors associated with cervical cancer awareness included knowledge of HPV (Khokana: Odds Ratio (OR)=24.5; (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 3.1-190.2, Sanphebagar: OR=14.8; 95% CI: 3.7-58.4)) and sexually transmitted infections (Khokana: OR=6.18; 95% CI: 3.1-12.4; Sanphebagar: OR=17.0; 95% CI: 7.3- 39.7) among other risk factors. CONCLUSIONS Knowledge and awareness of HPV, cervical cancer, and the HPV vaccine remains low among women in Khokana and Sanphebagar. Acceptance of a freely available HPV vaccine for children was high, indicating potentially high uptake rates in these communities.