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Int J Prev Med. 2019 Nov 6;10:198. doi: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_181_17. eCollection 2019.

Knowledge and Awareness of Cervical Cancer and Human Papillomavirus among Female Students in an Ethiopian University: A Cross-sectional Study.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University of Gondar, Gondar, Amhara, Ethiopia.
Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, Al Ain, UAE.
Department of Pharmacy, University of New England, Armidale NSW 2351, Australia.



Cervical cancer is causing a huge burden in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It mainly affects women in their young ages making female university students at risk of cervical cancer. Knowledge and awareness about cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV) in SSA including Ethiopia is very poor. We aimed to assess the knowledge and awareness of cervical cancer and HPV in University of Gondar (UOG) medicine and health science female students. A cross-sectional study was done.


This study was conducted from April 1 to May 30, 2016 at UOG, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Gondar, Northwest Ethiopia. Undergraduate female students were included in the study. A 14-item self-administered questionnaire was then provided to each of the participants to measure their level of knowledge and awareness about cervical cancer and HPV.


A total of 267 female students participated in the study (mean age 20.58 ± 1.22). More than half of the participants (59.6%) did not know the main cause of cervical cancer, whereas just about a fifth of them (19.5%) identified HPV as the main cause of cervical cancer. As high as 83.9% of the participants did not know other causes of cervical cancer. Binary logistic analysis revealed that students from midwifery (adjusted odds ratios [AOR] = 14.14, P < 0.05), anesthesiology (AOR = 9.66, P < 0.05) and medicine (AOR = 5.84, P < 0.05) departments were associated with knowledge of the main cause of cervical cancer.


Knowledge about cervical cancer and its causes were found to be inadequate among higher education female students. Hence, awareness about cervical cancer, causes and its prevention, importance of screening and vaccination should be promoted through university's campaign, curricular changes, and community and research projects.


Awareness; Ethiopia; cervical cancer; females; human papillomavirus; knowledge

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