Knowledge of Human Papillomavirus and Cervical Cancer among Women Attending Gynecology Clinics in Pretoria, South Africa

Teboho Amelia Tiiti, Johannes Bogers, Ramokone Lisbeth Lebelo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cervical cancer is mainly caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Worldwide, knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer among women is reported to be inadequate. The study aimed to assess the knowledge and awareness of HPV and cervical cancer among women attending gynecology clinics at a tertiary hospital in Pretoria, South Africa. The study also intended to identify socio-demographic factors influencing women’s knowledge about HPV and cervical cancer risk factors. Methods: This was a clinic-based analytic cross-sectional study conducted among women aged 18 years and older. Participants were enrolled in the clinic waiting rooms while waiting to be attended to by the clinician. A self-administered questionnaire to assess knowledge of HPV, cervical cancer, and risk factors for developing cervical cancer was distributed to the participants. Results: A total of 527 women aged ≥18 years and older were randomly enrolled with a 99.8% response rate. Less than half (47.1%) of the participants had been previously screened for cervical cancer using a Papanicolaou (Pap) test. Few (18.8%) women correctly mentioned cervical cancer risk factors. Unemployed women were less likely to have correct knowledge of cervical cancer causes/risk factors (OR: 0.63; 95% CI 0.40–0.97) compared to employed women. Divorced/separated/widowed women were more likely to have good HPV knowledge compared to single participants (OR: 2.74; 95% CI 1.46–5.15). Conclusion: From this study, it is evident that cervical cancer screening is very low, and women lack knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer disease symptoms and its risk factors. There is a need for policies to prioritize providing accurate information to the public to reduce cervical cancer morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4210
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • HPV
  • cervical cancer
  • knowledge
  • pap smear
  • policy
  • risk factors


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