What is it about?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the etiological agent of cervical cancer. This virus is the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide. The highest rates of HPV infection are found among young and sexually active men and women (≤25 years of age). Thus, the level of awareness about HPV persistence and its association with the development of cervical cancer is crucial to prevent the disease among the youngest population. The purpose of our investigation was to examine the level of awareness and knowledge about HPV infection among university students in Morocco since it’s a young sexually active population at risk of contracting HPV. Our findings indicated that a high proportion of the interviewed students knew about cervical cancer (81.6%). However, only 10.0% of the students have heard about HPV, and only 1.5% identified HPV as a sexually transmitted infection. Among those who knew about HPV, only half (47.9%) were able to identify this pathogen as the etiological agent of cervical cancer. We found that a good awareness (and/or knowledge) was mostly associated with a higher level of education among female students; especially those following a biology curriculum. We believe there is still a lot of misrepresentation among the youngest regarding HPV infection and its consequences. This strongly supports implementing adapted sexual health education programs, as early as possible, to inform about HPV and cervical cancer.

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Why is it important?

Prevention is critical in reducing the risk of HPV infection. By raising awareness about HPV, especially among the young sexually active population, we can promote the prevention and early detection of HPV-related cancers.


I hope this work will contribute to reducing the burden of HPV-associated diseases, and rise awareness towards sexually transmitted infections among young sexually active people.

Ph.D Student Nezha EL MANSOURI
Universite Ibn Zohr

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Awareness and knowledge associated to Human papillomavirus infection among university students in Morocco: A cross-sectional study, PLoS ONE, July 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0271222.
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