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What does the public really know about HPV?

g them, less than half were aware of the virus' connection to cervical cancer;
  • 64 percent knew that HPV could be sexually transmitted, and 79 percent knew it could cause abnormal Pap smears.

    The public needs education about HPV and cervical cancer in order to make appropriate, evidence-based health care choices among existing prevention strategies, including the Pap test, HPV DNA test, and HPV vaccine, researchers concluded.

    "Individuals are constantly being presented with new health care research that updates previous knowledge, might conflict with prior knowledge, or provides entirely new options for diagnosis and treatment," said Jasmin A. Tiro, Ph.D., MPH, in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI, Bethesda, Md. "With limited awareness about HPV among women in this country, there is a need for clear, consistent information about HPV transmission, prevention, detection and the link to cervical cancer. We expect that media coverage over the past year and direct-to-consumer marketing efforts by the makers of the HPV DNA test and the HPV vaccine will increase awareness, and NCI is conducting studies to monitor this possible increase. We plan to track the diffusion of knowledge to make sure that all women have accurate knowledge about HPV and how to prevent cervical cancer."

    The Effects of Information Framing on Intentions to Vaccinate Against HPV

    The success of the HPV vaccine depends largely on the public's willingness to accept vaccination. Because of the potentially controversial nature of the vaccine, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's EPIC Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research assessed how its portrayal in the media would affect attitudes toward vaccination among women.

    The study was a part of the Annenberg National Health Communication Survey, a monthly barometer of the public's health communication practices and needs. The survey is
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  • Contact: Warren Froelich
    froelich@aacr.org
    215-440-9300
    American Association for Cancer Research
    12-Nov-2006


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