What is it about?

Persistent infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with cervical cancer, and HPV primary testing is now used in cervical screening programmes around the world. Our study shows that women eligible for cervical screening in the UK still have low levels of knowledge of HPV, its link to cervical cancer, its transmission and treatment.

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Why is it important?

The more women know about HPV, and the less confusion there is about HPV testing and results the better, in terms of acceptance of HPV testing and cervical screening. Cervical cancer is preventable through screening, and normalising HPV and reducing myths and stigma is important for increasing cervical screening attendance rates.


Anything that we can do to encourage women to reduce their risk of cervical cancer is worthwhile. There is much confusion about the HPV virus, as well as stigma and embarrassment. Where HPV primary testing has been introduced in cervical screening programmes, many more women will become aware of their HPV status. This could be psychologically damaging for some women. By developing public health campaigns to tackle the gaps in women's knowledge, we can aim to reduce confusion, myths and stigma around HPV, and increase knowledge and encourage and empower women to attend cervical screening.

Dr Susanna Kola-Palmer
Department of Psychology, University of Huddersfield

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Awareness and knowledge of human papilloma virus in UK women aged 25 years and over: Results from a cross‐sectional internet‐based survey, European Journal of Cancer Care, October 2019, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/ecc.13181.
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