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  • 1 2nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2 National Institute of Oncology, Budapest, Hungary
  • 3 St. Stephen's Hospital, Budapest, Hungary
  • 4 MEDI-GYN Health Service, Budapest, Hungary
  • 5 Üllői út 78/A, H-1082, Budapest, Hungary
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Abstract

Introduction

The human papillomavirus infection is one of the most frequent sexually transmitted diseases. The presence of human papillomavirus is demonstrable in nearly all cases of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second most frequent tumourous disease among women, not just in the world but in Hungary.

Aim

Our aim was to estimate women's knowledge of the human papillomavirus and cervical cancer. We searched connection between the frequent mortality, the low participation rate of screenings and the knowledge of cervical cancer.

Methods

The related questionnaire contained 18 questions and was filled in by 422 women in cities and villages. The lower age limit of the randomly canvassed people was 14 years, but we reached older women as well. The incoming data were processed with a computer program. The completed questionnaires were differentiated by age, place of residence, qualification, whether the subject had children and whether she got human papillomavirus vaccination.

Results

The results show that almost half of the women know the basics well, but the number of answers to functional questions (e.g. “how can one decrease the risk of infection?”) was less than that expected according to the international journals. About 56% of the women knew that the virus causes cervical cancer, but only 17% of them named the right combination of the risk factors. The rate is much lower in high school circles, although the girls in that circle seem to be the most exposed to sex-related infections. About 42% of the women thought that men too can be infected; 47% gave right answers by knowing that the human papillomavirus infection does not involve symptoms. Only 44% of the respondents went for cervical cancer screening once a year and 43% of them thought that cervical cancer and precancerous lesions did not mean serious danger to them. About 80% of the women knew that the screening includes a smear taking. The significance of differences in knowledge level between groups was estimated by χ2-probe.

Conclusions

On the basis of the results, half of the women said to be familiar with the basic questions. In our opinion, this is mainly due to the commercial campaigns that have increased in number lately. There still were some questions which did not get more than 20% of right answers.

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