Polish Medical Students' Knowledge Regarding Human Papillomavirus's Ways of Transmission, Risk of Cancer Development and Vaccination, and Their Intention to Recommend Vaccination
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with six types of cancer in men and women. A vaccine against HPV, preferably administered before initial sexual intercourse, has been proven to be highly effective in preventing these cancers. An effective healthcare provider recommendation has significant influence on HPV vaccine uptake; therefore, it is critical that medical students receive comprehensive training in this area. Aim: The aim of the study was to assess the knowledge of medical students
... garding Human Papillomavirus's (HPV) ways of transmission, risk of cancer development, and vaccination against HPV. This study also investigated factors among medical students that would affect their intention to recommend HPV vaccination to others. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted among 1061 (678 women and 383 men) medical students who filled in our questionnaire. The medical students were divided into two subgroups: (1) pre-clinical medical students (MS pre-clinical; first-to third-year students; n = 683) and (2) clinical medical students (MS clinical; fourth-to six-year students; n = 378). Results: A total259 (24.41%) of the 1061 medical students were vaccinated against HPV. We found a significant improvement in the general level of knowledge in the later years of education (4–6) compared to the early years of education (1–3). However, it was demonstrated that, despite medical education advancements, there are still significant gaps of knowledge about the relationship between HPV infection and cancers other than cervical cancer, as well as in relation to the routes by which HPV is transmitted. Medical students' intentions to recommend HPV vaccine to others were related to their own HPV-related knowledge and their own vaccination status. Conclusion: Medical students have gaps of knowledge regarding particular issues and aspects of HPV. It is necessary to further educate medical students in the field of prevention and in the treatment of lesions caused by HPV infection. Medical students' intention to recommend the HPV vaccine can be improved by including them and members of their families in the HPV vaccination program.