Volume 25, Issue 4 (Winter 2022)                   2022, 25(4): 237-240 | Back to browse issues page

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Baradaran-Binazir M. Knowledge About Human Papilloma Virus Among Medical Students of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences. Journal of Inflammatory Diseases. 2022; 25 (4) :237-240
URL: http://journal.qums.ac.ir/article-1-3272-en.html
Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Health Management and Safety Promotion Research Institute, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran. , maryam_baradaran@hotmail.com
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1. Introduction
The relationship between the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the incidence of precancerous lesions that can cause cervical cancer is confirmed [1]. Cervical cancer is one of the avoidable human cancers and can be controlled through early detection of precancerous lesions [2]. Although, in developing countries, cervical cancer is the most common origin of cancer-related mortality among women [3]. Developing countries in the Middle East and Asia are generally considered traditional communities with a modest prevalence of sexually transmitted infections. However, nowadays, there is a considerable rising in the prevalence of HPV infections among Middle Eastern and Asian women [4]. 
In Iran, its prevalence was estimated as 9.4% (95% CI: 6.8%-12.02%) [5]. Physicians’ knowledge and comments are important in the uptake of HPV screening among women. Multiple studies reported that the advice of the health workers had a determining effect on women’s decision to do screening exams [6, 7, 8]. No information is presently available regarding the knowledge of HPV among medical students of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the knowledge of HPV in the final-year medical students as future physicians of Iran.
2. Material and Methods
This cross-sectional study was performed from March to May 2021. All final-year medical students of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences were invited to complete an online standardized questionnaire through a mobile app. The questionnaire included 14 items, and its validity and reliability had already been confirmed [9]. The questionnaire was in optional format with 3 options of “correct,” “I do not know,” and “incorrect.” Participants selected the option that indicated their knowledge best. For scoring, each “correct” answer is rated 2, “I do not know” 1, and “incorrect” 0 points. Accordingly, the highest and lowest score was 28 and 0, respectively. Based on the accessible cut-off points, scores between 0-9, 10-18, and 19-28 indicated low, average, and high levels of knowledge, respectively. Data analysis was done by the Independent samples t-test in SPSS software version 16. P<0.05 was regarded as statistically significant. Completing the questionnaire in this study was non-obligatory, and all questionnaires would be anonymous and confidential.
3. Results
In the present study, 215 female medical students and 128 male ones participated, with Mean±SD age of 23.14±1.21 years. Most of the students (85.67%) were single. The Mean±SD knowledge score of students was 9.25±6.21, demonstrating their low knowledge of HPV. Furthermore, no significant score differences were between students’ knowledge about HPV with regard to gender and marital status (Table 1).

The following items were most often responded mistakenly: early sex is a risk factor for cervical cancer (56.12% responded falsely or did not know), most HPV infections are symptomatic (46.57%), and HPV is a cause of infertility (35.78%).
4. Discussion
Our study demonstrated a knowledge gap about HPV among final-year medical students. Although this study is performed just in Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, this knowledge gap may be generalizable to medical students nationally. Consistent with our study, medical students of the Islamic Azad University of Mashhad had a low level of knowledge about HPV [10]. Furthermore, the other study in Rasht City, Iran, showed that the knowledge of more than half of the students was poor in this topic [11]. The other study reported that medical students from southwest China had a low level of knowledge of HPV, but they were interested to learn more about this issue [12]. Although a similar investigation by Zargar et al. showed that most medical students had a moderate to high level of knowledge on HPV infection (about 70%), which is inconsistent with our results. Also, factors such as gender and marital status had no significant influence on participants’ knowledge [13]. Nevertheless, in the study by Ying Wen et al., female students knew more about HPV [12]. Overall, it is essential to improve both females’ and males’ HPV-related knowledge because they both play a key role in the spread of the infection [12]. There was no detailed information on medical students’ knowledge of HPV infection. In our study, although all students had heard of HPV, most participants did not know simple facts that early sex is a risk factor for cervical cancer, most HPV infections are symptomatic, or HPV is a cause of infertility. This finding is consistent with other similar studies [14151617]. 
5. Conclusion
Regarding the low knowledge scores of final-year medical students of HPV, educational programs should be directed to HPV to improve medical students’ knowledge about this virus and its related diseases. Educational programs should be combined with medicine curricula to improve medical students’ knowledge of HPV-related diseases and prevention [181920]. To increase HPV knowledge concerning the impact of it on the future of this infectious disease, medical students should be informed, and presentations and management of HPV infection should have priority in medical school educational programs.

Ethical Considerations
Compliance with ethical guidelines

Completing the questionnaire in this study was non-obligatory, and all questionnaires were nameless and confidential. This research project was approved by the Ethics Committee of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences (IR.TBZMED.REC.1398.513).

The current study did not receive any grant, such as financial, personal, political, or academic.

Conflict of interest
The author declared no conflicts of interest.

The author appreciates all participating medical students in the study.

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Type of Study: Short communication | Subject: Medical Education

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