Genital human papillomavirus: Women's knowledge and attitudes of this sexually transmitted disease

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Martha Velasco-Whetsell

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Maria Lourdes Lizardo

Third Advisor's Name

Oliver David Anderson

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to investigate women's knowledge and attitudes regarding genital human papillomavirus (n=100). Using a descriptive design, the Health Education Questionnaire was administered to 100 female patients (Mean Age = 33, SD = 7.17) at a physicians office in South Florida. The results indicated a lack of knowledge regarding genital human papillomavirus with 21 patients (21%) reported having knowledge and 79 (79%) having never heard of this disease. In addition, the group familiar with genital human papillomavirus also possessed a low level of knowledge with only 57% acknowledging an association of genital human papillomavirus and cervical cancer, 52% aware that a pap smear can detect the virus, 42% knowing that antibiotics can not treat the disease and 57% aware that it is not associated with a family history. An association was found between attitudes and health seeking behaviors. Subjects stating that they would take all measures to prevent genital human papillomavirus, were more likely to have a pap smear within the last year (Chi-square (1) = 4.33, p < .05). Higher levels of education and income were associated with increased knowledge regarding genital human papillomavirus when subjects were categorized according to sociodemographic characteristic (Chi-square (1) =9.45, p < .05; Chi-square (1) = 6.75, p < .05). There was no significant correlation between knowledge and ethnicity, marital status or age. Findings indicated the need for improved education and promotion of positive attitudes regarding human papillomaviurs in order to improve health seeking behaviors among women.



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