Health Disparity in Human Papilloma Virus Related Infections
In spite of the volume of information of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and the HPV vaccines, there are racial and gender differences in the knowledge and awareness of HPV among Guyanese. The study aimed to assess the knowledge and attitude towards HPV infection, cervical cancer and HPV vaccines. The study was conducted among 198 students studying at University of Guyana. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered to evaluate students’ knowledge, attitude and information of HPV, HPV associated diseases and vaccines. In all, 36.4% males and 63.6% females participated in the study of which 38.9%, 45.9% and 15.2% were Afro-Guyanese, Indo-Guyanese other racial groups respectively. By gender, 18.2% had heard of HPV, 41.9% had little knowledge of HPV and 39.9% had no knowledge of HPV. Regarding knowledge on HPV vaccine and genital warts, 54.5 % of the participants neither agreed nor disagreed with the fact that, these vaccines can protect the individual from genital warts, 19.2% agreed but 26.2% disagreed. Racially, only 1.0% agreed that males spread HPV, 16.7% says females, 29.8% says both and 52.5% had no knowledge of the spread of HPV. Again, 59.6% of these racial groups had no knowledge of the link between HPV and cervical cancer, 31.8% true whereas 8.6% answered false. Among these participants who have heard about the HPV, 19.2% had the information from health education programs whereas 17.2% had it from friends/acquaintances. HPV infection is asymptomatic and both males and fe-males are at high risk of contracting HPV related diseases. Although some participants had heard of HPV, their knowledge was limited. Therefore, health-care providers in Guyana should focus on providing information and education to the populace rather than the diagnosis and treatment of HPV infections and its associate cancers.
Keywords: Sexually transmitted virus, cancer-causing virus, incidence rate, students