Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality among women in India; however, participation in prevention and screening is low and the reasons for this are not well understood. In a cross-sectional survey in August 2008, 202 healthy women in Karnataka, India completed a questionnaire regarding knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. Factors associated with vaccination and Papanicolau (Pap) smear screening acceptance were explored. Thirty-six percent of women had heard of HPV while 15 % had heard of cervical cancer. Five percent of women reported ever having a Pap smear, and 4 % of women felt at risk of HPV infection. Forty-six percent of women were accepting of vaccination, but fewer (21 %) were willing to have a Pap smear. Overall, knowledge related to HPV and cervical cancer topics was low. Women with negative attitudes toward HPV infection were 5.3 (95 % confidence interval (CI) 2.8–10) times more likely to accept vaccination but were not significantly more likely to accept Pap smear (odds ratio 1.5, 95 % CI 0.7–3.0). Cost and a low level of perceived risk were the most frequent factors cited as potential barriers. Improving awareness of HPV and cervical cancer through health care providers in addition to increasing access to vaccination and screening through government-sponsored programs may be feasible and effective methods to reduce cervical cancer burden in India.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health