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Vaccine. 2012 Nov 6;30(48):6824-32. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.09.012. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

Effect of an educational intervention on Hungarian adolescents' awareness, beliefs and attitudes on the prevention of cervical cancer.

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Department of Public Health Medicine, Medical Faculty, University of Pecs, Pecs H-7624, Hungary.


The alarming national data on the mortality and morbidity rates of cervical cancer as well as the results of a Hungarian survey demonstrating adolescents' low level of understanding of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and HPV vaccination encouraged the authors to conduct an educational intervention. The aim of this survey was to explore the impact of a brief, HPV-focused program on adolescents' knowledge, beliefs and attitudes. A self-administered anonymous questionnaire was completed by 394 male and female adolescents in September, 2010, in Hungary. Half of the students (48.5%) then had a one-off educational intervention on aspects cervical cancer lasting 45 min lesson, while the rest of the participants, the control group, did not have the educational intervention. Three months following the education, both groups were retested using the same questionnaire. Data were analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Following the education, significant increase was detected in cervical cancer awareness: causal relationship between HPV and cervical cancer (7.9% → 22.1%, p<0.05), or perception of HPV vaccination (61.3% → 85.9%, p<0.05). Similarly, health-related beliefs have enhanced, such as 'HPV may cause cervical cancer' (64.9% → 81.0%, p<0.05) or 'cervical cancer may be prevented by vaccination' (66.5% → 85.3%, p<0.05). Our data also highlighted that Hungarian adolescents have been practising extremely risky sexual behaviour. Nearly half of the sexually active adolescents had engaged in 'one-night relationship' (41.1%) as well as having sexual intercourse without any contraceptive safety measures (44.3%). In addition to providing adolescents with clear and meaningful information about the implications of a HPV infection and addressing their fears of screening and vaccination, health education should focus on promoting safe sex behaviour by promoting the use of condoms and reducing the number of sexual partners to limit the spread of HPV, and also on encouraging the participation in regular cervical screenings, thus reducing the incidence of cervical cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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