Knowledge on Human Papillomavirus-Related Conditions and Determinants of HPV Vaccine Uptake for Cancer Prevention among Japanese University Students: Survey and Review

Muchanga Sifa MJ, Ngatu Roger, Hirota Ryoji, Yasumitsu-Lovell K, Kanbara Sakiko, Kawasaki Shota, Kawashima Ayaka, Tonda Kai, Fukushima Dai, Ogawa Ei, Mbutshu Lukuke H, Tanaka Kei, Joos Joel, Nojima Sayumi, Tozin Rahma and Suganuma Narufumi

Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes an infection that is related to nearly 99% of cervical cancer cases. The World health organization (WHO) estimates that there is an increase of 300 million HPV carriers per year worldwide. We evaluated the knowledge on HPV-related conditions, their prevention and HPV vaccine uptake among Japanese university students.
A survey was conducted in which 679 students (225 males and 454 females; mean age: 19.8 ± 6.17) from three universities (Kochi prefecture) participated. In addition, a review of the literature on HPV vaccination and cervical cancer in south-east Asia was performed.
Twelve percent of female students were vaccinated. In total, 18% of participants had accurate knowledge on HPV-related illnesses; women (76%) had high knowledge as compared with their male counterparts (46%; p<0.05). When faculty was considered, nursing and medical students had high knowledge on HPV-related conditions than those from other faculties (p<0.05). HPV vaccine uptake was positively associated with 3 ‘having a close person (sibling, relative, acquaintance or friend) who suffered from cervical cancer (OR: 2.18; 95% CI: 1.31-3.63; p<0.05).
This study showed that, despite the relatively high incidence of cervical cancer in Japan, the rate of vaccine uptake was low. Controversy regarding safety of HPV vaccines in Japan should be addressed by health policy makers to eventually allow teenagers and young adult to get immunized.