Objective: To understand the barriers or factors that may hinder receipt of the Human Papilloma virus (HPV) among adolescent girls 14-18 years old, and evaluate the awareness level about HPV and the HPV vaccine acceptance.
Methods: A questionnaire consisting of two parts, demographic and family history of cervical cancer, and a cluster of questions about HPV was distributed to 651 female adolescents in 17 secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago to determine knowledge, attitude, and awareness levels pertaining to HPV and acceptance of the HPV vaccine. Chi-square tests and logistic regressions were used.
Results: Of the 651 students completing questionnaires, the majority (61%) were in the 15-16 year old age group; 76% were either of African descent or multi-racial. There were significant associations between a family member having a diagnosis of cervical cancer and knowledge that cervical cancer is caused by the HPV virus, that the virus is spread sexually, and the likelihood of getting cervical cancer in the future (p=<.05). However, the majority (63%) did not know that that cervical cancer is caused by the HPV virus or that the virus was spread sexually.
Discussion: Lack of knowledge of the HPV vaccine was seen among adolescents from each school. There is need for education on cervical cancer and its causes, and the HPV virus.