206388 Exploring issues around knowledge of the Human Papillomavirus, cervical cancer, perception of risk, and vaccine acceptance among women in Alexandra Township, South Africa

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shelley A. Francis, DrPH, MPH, CHES , College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Jennifer Nelson , Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Joan Liverpool, EdD , Deskan Institute, Stone Mountain, GA
Roland J. Thorpe Jr., PhD , Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Soji Shogun, MBBS , Dr. Soji Shogun's Clinic, Johannesburg, South Africa
Background/Significance: Developing countries account for 85% of the nearly 500,000 yearly cases of cervical cancer worldwide with approximately 250,000 deaths occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America. In South Africa cervical cancer is the 3rd leading cause of death among women.

Although cervical cancer can be prevented with regular Pap screening, access to preventive screenings may be nearly non-existent in resource poor settings that have limited public health infrastructure and where women may lack basic health education. The World Health Organizations estimates that even once in a life time screening, performed by women in their 30s or 40s could reduce the risk of cervical cancer by 25-30%.

Purpose: to assess women's knowledge about STDs, cancer risk, vaccine acceptance, and maternal-child communication about STDs and cervical cancer.

Methods: Eighty eight women ages 18-44 with at least one child who presented at an antenatal clinic in township in Johannesburg were recruited to complete a brief questionnaire. Using both descriptive and multivariate statistics, we assessed knowledge of cervical cancer, HPV, and the vaccine; assessed maternal-child communication about sex and STDs, assessed willingness to vaccinate child; and identified barriers to assessing medical care and the vaccine.

Results: The majority of participants' were unfamiliar with HPV and cervical cancer, were concerned about their child's and their own risk for HPV, and faced numerous barriers to accessing screening, and were willing to vaccinate their child.

Discussion/conclusion: Women in developing countries need increased access to screening and education about cervical cancer and HPV prevention.

Learning Objectives:
Assess knowledge of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer; Identify at least two barriers to screenings for cervical cancer and HPV; Assess perception of risk for HPV and cervical; and Assess knowledge and HPV vaccine acceptance.

Keywords: Cervical Cancer, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceptualized the project and collected the data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.