Volume 29, Issue 32 pp. 5087-5330 (18 July 2011)
Difficulties in the prevention of cervical cancer: Adults’ attitudes towards HPV vaccination 3 years after introducing the vaccine in Hungary
Erika Marek, Timea Dergez, Antal Kricskovics, Krisztina Kovacs, Gabor Rebek-Nagy, Katalin Gocze, Istvan Kiss, Istvan Ember, Peter Gocze
Cervical cancer is one of the most prevalent gynaecological malignancies worldwide. The Hungarian incidence and mortality of this disease take the 4th–5th places within the European Union. A survey including 785 male and female adults was conducted to assess the knowledge and attitudes concerning HPV vaccination. We focused on the difficulties of the primary and secondary prevention of cervical cancer and examined some potential sociodemographic predictors of HPV vaccine acceptability.
Our findings have identified some important issues like: incomplete knowledge, intense distrust and financial concerns. Almost half of the college students (45.6%) are unaware of HPV infections. We confirmed previous findings that older age and female gender correlates with better knowledge on STDs, including HPV. We found that greater exposure to health information comes with better knowledge and more positive attitudes towards vaccination.
One quarter of survey respondents do not believe that cervical cancer may be prevented by vaccination. More than half of the adults do not trust national health care system and the preparedness of Hungarian doctors. General attitudes towards vaccination are broadly positive, 80% of survey participants had expressed desire towards HPV vaccination, however if there was a need to pay for the vaccination the willingness would decrease by half.
Primary prevention through HPV-focused educational programs, clear communication and financial support would be important for public health to reduce the high incidence and mortality of cervical cancer in Hungary in the future.