An assessment of the level of knowledge of secondary school students from the State of Pernambuco, Brazil, regarding Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and prophylactic vaccinations/ Uma avaliação do nível de conhecimento de estudantes do ensino médio do estado de Pernambuco, Brasil, sobre o Papilomavírus Humano (HPV) e as vacinas profiláticas

Ismael Gomes da Rocha, Raphael Ferreira Pimentel, Giwellington Silva Albuquerque, Jonathan Wagner de Medeiros, Dafne Carolina Alves Quixabeira, Jacinto Costa da Silva Neto


The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge of high school students about HPV and their awareness that a vaccine is available as prophylactic treatment. Nine hundred and eighty-six students were surveyed—the gender distribution being 61.5% female and 38.5% male. Of those surveyed, 67.1% said they had heard of HPV, but only 53.3% of those familiar with the virus knew a prophylactic treatment was available. Female students knew more about HPV than did their male counterparts (71.6% v. 60%), consequently fewer males knew of the vaccine (58.3% v. 50.7%). The students’ acceptance of the HPV vaccine as prophylactic treatment was correlated with both prior knowledge of the virus and the vaccine. Therefore, the study concluded that it is necessary to increase public awareness about HPV and with the availability of a the vaccine as preventative treatment. That is important due to a great level of resistance to vaccination in several states of Brazil. This study highlights the need for new public health policies.



Human papillomavirus; HPV prophylactic vaccine; Teenagers.

Full Text:



Colon-Lopez V, Ortiz AP, Del Toro-Mejias LM, Garcia H, Clatts MC, Palefsky J: Awareness and knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection among high-risk men of Hispanic origin attending a sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic. BMC Infect Dis 2012, 12:346.

WHO|World Health Organization [Internet]. WHO. [cited 2016 Aug 3]. Available from: (?)

WHO| 9789241505840_eng.pdf [Internet]. [cited 2016 Aug 3]. Available from:

McCredie MR, Sharples KJ, Paul C, Baranyai J, Medley G, Jones RW, Skegg DC: Natural history of cervical neoplasia and risk of invasive cancer in women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 3: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet Oncol 2008, 9(5):425-434.

Munoz N, Castellsague X, de Gonzalez AB, Gissmann L: Chapter 1: HPV in the etiology of human cancer. Vaccine 2006, 24 Suppl 3:S3/1-10.

WHO. Laboratory diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency vírus. Printed by the WHO Document Production Services, Geneva, Switzerland. 2013. Accessed on Aug 5, 2016.

Persson M, Elfstrom KM, BrismarWendel S, Weiderpass E, Andersson S: Triage of HR-HPV positive women with minor cytological abnormalities: a comparison of mRNA testing, HPV DNA testing, and repeat cytology using a 4-year follow-up of a population-based study. PLoS One 2014, 9(2):e90023.

Carpagnano GE, Koutelou A, Natalicchio MI, Martinelli D, Ruggieri C, Taranto AD, Antonetti R, Carpagnano F, MP Foschino-Barbaro. HPV in exhaled breath condensate of lung cancer patients. British Journal of Cancer. 2011 (105): 1183 – 1190.

Evans M, Newcombe R, Fiander A, Powell J, Rolles M, Thavaraj S, Robinson M, Powell N: Human Papillomavirus-associated oropharyngeal cancer: an observational study of diagnosis, prevalence and prognosis in a UK population. BMC Cancer 2013, 13:220.

Sigaroodi A, Nadji SA, Naghshvar F, Nategh R, Emami H, Velayati AA. Human papillomavirus is associated with breast cancer in the north part of Iran. Sci. World J. [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2016 Aug 3];2012. Available from:

Colon-Lopez V, Ortiz AP, Del Toro-Mejias L, Clatts MC, Palefsky JM: Epidemiology of anal HPV infection in high-risk men attending a sexually transmitted infection clinic in Puerto Rico. PLoS One 2014, 9(1):e83209.

Jemal A, Bray F, Center MM, Ferlay J, Ward E, Forman D. Global cancer statistics. CA. Cancer J. Clin. 2011;61:69–90.

INCA. Vacina contra o HPV começa a ser aplicada na Rede Pública. Accessed on Aug 5, 2016:

NIH - Accessed on Aug 5, 2016:

Estados@ [Internet]. [cited 2016 Aug 3]. Available from:

Gottvall M, Larsson M, Höglund AT, Tydén T. High HPV vaccine acceptance despite low awareness among Swedish upper secondary school students. Eur. J. Contracept. Reprod. Health Care. 2009;14:399–405.

Shuang-yang T, Zhi-hua L, Le L, Hengling C, Yan-ping W. Awareness and knowledge about human papillomavirus among high school students in China. J Reprod. Med. 2014; 59(1-2): 44-50.

. Marek E, Dergez T, Rebek-Nagy G, Kricskovics A, Kovacs K, Bozsa S, Kiss I, Ember I, Gocze P. Adolescents’s awareness of HPV infections and atitudes towards HPV vaccination 3 years following the introduction of the HPV vaccine in Hungary. Vaccine. 2011; 29(2011): 8591-8598.

Carlson LM, Gonzalez S. Knowledge of cervical cancer pathology of high school students in San Carlos, Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop. 2014; 62(3): 877-886.

Pelucchi C, Esposito S, Galeone C, Semino M, Sabatini C, Picciolli I, Consolo S, Milani G, Principi N. Knowledge of human papillomavirus infection and its prevention among adolescents and parents in the greater Milan area, Northern Italy. BMC Public Health. 2010; 10: 378.

Vogtmann E, Harlow SD, Valdez AC, Valdez JC, Ponce EL: HPV knowledge in Mexican college students: implications for intervention programmes. Health Soc Care Community 2011, 19(2):148- 157.

Katz ML, Krieger JL, Roberto AJ: Human papillomavirus (HPV): college male's knowledge,perceived risk, sources of information, vaccine barriers and communication. J Mens Health 2011, 8(3):175-184.

Cates JR, Brewer NT, Fazekas KI, Mitchell CE, Smith JS. Racial differences in HPV knowledge, HPV vaccine acceptability, and related beliefs among rural, southern women. J. Rural Health. 2009;25:93–7.

Gelman A, Nikolajski C, Schwarz EB, Borrero S: Racial disparities in awareness of the human papillomavirus. J Womens Health (Larchmt) 2011, 20(8):1165-1173.

Li J, Li LK, Wei LH, Niyaz M, Li CQ, Xu AD, Wang JB, Liang H, Belinson J, Qiao YL. Knowledge and atitudes about human papillomavirus (HPV) and HPV vaccine among women living in metropolitan and rural regions of China. Vaccine. 2009; 27(8): 1210-1215.

Borsatto AZ, Vidal MLB, Rocha RCNP. Vacina contra o HPV e a Prevenção do Câncer do Colo do Útero: Subsídios para a Prática. Rev. bras. cancerol. 2011; 57(1) 67–74.

Baldez da Silva MFPT, Guimarães V, Silva MAR, Medeiros do Amaral CM, Beçak W, Stocco RC, et al. Frequency of human papillomavirus types 16, 18, 31, and 33 and sites of cervical lesions in gynecological patients from Recife, Brazil. Genet. Mol. Res. 2012;11:462–6.

Chagas BS, Batista MV, Crovella S, Gurgel AP, Silva NetoJda C, Serra IG, Amaral CM, Balbino VQ, Muniz MT, Freitas AC: Novel E6 and E7 oncogenes variants of human papillomavirus type 31 in Brazilian women with abnormal cervical cytology. Infect Genet Evol 2013, 16:13-18.

Smith JS, Lindsay L, Hoots B, Keys J, Franceschi S, Winer R, Clifford GM: Human papillomavirus type distribution in invasive cervical cancer and high-grade cervical lesions: a meta-analysis update. Int J Cancer 2007, 121(3):621-632.




  • There are currently no refbacks.