Knowledge, awareness and attitude towards human papilloma virus vaccine in a resource-constrained setting: a comparison between an urban and rural population in South Africa


  • Lwangila willy W Shabani University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Manivasan Moodley Greys Hospital
  • Thinagrin Dhasarathun Naidoo Greys Hospital


attitude, awareness, HPV vaccine, human papilloma virus, knowledge, rural, urban


Objectives: This study compared the knowledge, awareness and attitude towards the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine between urban and rural population groups.

Materials and methods: A comparative and descriptive study was undertaken of 200 women attending gynaecological services in the Pietermaritzburg Hospitals Complex. A systematic random sampling and interview-administered questionnaire was conducted. The study analysed demographic data and compared the similarities/differences in terms of awareness, knowledge, attitude and uptake of HPV vaccine between the groups.

Results: Some 29% of urban participants as compared with 27% of rural participants knew about HPV; 72% lacked knowledge and awareness of HPV (71.0% urban and 73% rural). Of the urban population, 12% knew that HPV vaccine existed and protected against HPV transmission, 54% did not know, whilst 34% wished to know more. Only 7% of the rural population knew that the HPV vaccine existed and protected against HPV transmission, 57% did not know and 36% expressed the wish to know more. Overall 25% of the participants agreed on HPV vaccine safety (urban, 28 vs. rural, 22), while among the rest of the participants 75% were unsure. In total 57% of participants were unsure as to whether the HPV vaccine could encourage sexual promiscuity (urban, 56 vs. rural, 59), 21 urban dwellers agreed that the HPV vaccine could encourage sexual promiscuity and 23 disagreed. In the rural populations, 24 agreed and 17 disagreed.

Conclusion: The knowledge and awareness of the HPV vaccine was generally poor among both the urban and rural population groups. However, both rural and urban dwellers expressed the need for more information about the HPV vaccine before they could recommend the vaccine.

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Author Biographies

  • Lwangila willy W Shabani, University of KwaZulu-Natal

    Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Registrar, Greys Hospital, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

  • Manivasan Moodley, Greys Hospital

    Department of Gynaecological Oncology, Greys Hospital, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

  • Thinagrin Dhasarathun Naidoo, Greys Hospital

    Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Greys Hospital, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa






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