Objective: High-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) are a necessary, albeit not sufficient, cause for cervical cancer development. In The Bahamas, cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer despite screening and educational efforts. As a vaccine programme is being considered, awareness of HPV-related conditions and its vaccine needs to be measured.
Methods: This study design was cross-sectional and carried out at three clinical sites and one community in Nassau, Bahamas. All participants were over the age of 18 years and were invited to answer a (self-administered) questionnaire regarding knowledge and attitudes toward HPV and its vaccines.
Results: Of 399 participants, 75% were female and 23% male. About 41% had a high school education and 55.4% had some tertiary college education. Forty-six per cent had heard of HPV and 35% heard of the vaccine. The mean number of correct answers about HPV was 2.93 ± 3.17 of 10 questions, while for the vaccine, it was 1.37 ± 1.58 of five questions. Multivariable logistic regression indicated that some college education was associated with more HPV and HPV vaccine knowledge. Seventy-three per cent needed reassurance of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. Sixty-five per cent would vaccinate their daughters and 68% would vaccinate their sons if the vaccine was safe and effective.
Conclusion: More public education is needed to increase awareness of cervical cancer and HPV-related diseases. Reassurance with respect to vaccine safety and efficacy also needs to be addressed. Since the majority would vaccinate their children, there is the potential for a national vaccination programme to succeed.