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Revista Costarricense de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1409-1429


JIMENEZ HERRERA, Luis G. Knowledge among students of the university of Costa Rica regarding the human papilloma virus during the second semester of the 2006 academic year, Costa Rica. Rev. costarric. salud pública [online]. 2007, vol.16, n.31, pp.42-47. ISSN 1409-1429.

Human papillomavirus or HPV infection is related to cervical, anal as well as penile cancers. Given the incidence of some of these diseases and their consequences, HPV infection is a subject of current interest that must be approached from diverse perspectives. This study explored students` knowledge at the University of Costa Rica about the subject of HPV infection during the second semester of academic year 2006. A custom-made interview was designed using key questions on the subject and a knowledge index about HPV was created. 439 students - 227 men (51,7%) and 212 (48,3%) women- were interviewed, most of them between the ages of 17 to 25 years (80%), and belonging to the social sciences(34,4%), health sciences(29,8%), or computing and engineering sciences(19,8%). All of the women had heard about the virus, while 15 men (17-20 years) had not; the means of transmission and the relationship with cancer were the main differences in the percentage of answers between men and women; mass media and prevention campaigns were the main sources of knowledge about the virus. The index designed showed that 32% of the students had poor knowledge, 37% moderate amounts of knowledge and 31% high level.  A greater number of students in the health sciences tended to have high levels of knowledge with respect to this subject. Students in the basic sciences had a tendency towards the lower level, while the rest of study areas tended to increase their percentage between low and moderate, and less than 37% were in the high levels. This study suggests that health personnel must assume the responsibility of leading the preventive processes in the different settings.

Keywords : human papillomavirus; college students; knowledge.

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