Introduction The high mortality of cervical cancer is a public health problem in Hungary. The risk of cervical cancer is increased by the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The awareness of HPV associated diseases and HPV vaccination plays an important role in the prevention. The purpose of this survey was to assess the knowledge about HPV and its prevention among adolescent girls.
Methods A self-administered questionnaire concerning knowledge of HPV, cervical cancer and vaccines were applied. Altogether 589 girls (aged 14–18) taking part in a short course about sexual and reproductive health were involved; the questionnaires were completed before the education. SPSS for Windows version 17.0 was used to analyse the results.
Results Half of the girls were sexually active, 75.6% of them began sexual activity at 15–17 ages; the mean age was 15.39 years. Only 49.9% of the respondents identified correctly that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection. The girls being familiar with this fact were more informed about the various ways of HPV transmission. In general, the awareness of HPV transmission was very low (0.8% gave totally correct answer). 34.8% of the sexually active girls thought that using a condom completely prevent HPV infection. 47.5% have heard about the HPV vaccine.
Conclusion This survey indicated that adolescent girls have low level knowledge about HPV, although they are sexually active. Serious misconceptions exist about specific aspects of the disease. Improvements in the sexual education in the upper primary schools are needed to encourage the prevention of cervical cancer in Hungary.
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