1 Department of Public Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
2 Department of Advanced Nursing Science, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is one of the virus that causes high mortality rates worldwide, and if not detected and treated early, it may lead to fatal complications such as cervical cancer and breast cancer.
The aim of this study was to to determine the knowledge of female students regarding the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and its vaccines at a selected University in the Limpopo Province, South Africa.
A quantitative approach was adopted in this cross sectional descriptive study. The target population was all female students residing in the University residences on campus, and a sample size of 310 students was determined. A systematic sampling technique was used to select the rooms of students, and a self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. Data collected was analysed using SPSS version 26 and results were presentenced in a form of frequency and percentages.
Out of the 310 respondents, 56.8% had never heard about the HPV, whilst 43.2% had heard about the HPV and its vaccines. The majority (82.9%) of the respondents were uncertain about the two HPV vaccines that are available in South Africa, whilst only 1.9% of the respondents knew that anal cancer is one of the health problems related to the HPV. The results of the study further showed that 56.8% of the respondents did not know whether the HPV vaccines prevent cervical cancer or not, whilst only 6.1% disagreed that the HPV vaccines prevent cervical cancer.
The study concludes that the female students at the selected university had insufficient knowledge regarding the HPV and its vaccines. Since cervical cancer is one of the major causes of death in low and middle income countries, knowledge regarding the HPV and its vaccines is crucial, especially among the young generation, in order to promote the effective prevention of cervical cancer. Community and university radios should have programmes about health promotion issues informing the communities about HPV and its vaccines.
Keywords: Cervical cancer, Human papilloma virus, Human papilloma virus vaccines.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Public Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda Postal address: P/Bag X5050, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa; Tel: 015 962 8892, 082 871 0586; E-mail: email@example.com