Do Women Really Understand HPV?

No surprise, a survey of some 3,000 American women (ages 18-75) administered by the National Cancer Institute found only 40 percent had ever heard of human papillomavirus virus (HPV), the most common form of sexually transmitted disease.

What's more, less than 50 percent knew of HPV's connection to cervical cancer, although two-thirds knew it could be transmitted sexually and 79 percent understood it could cause abnormal Pap smears.

Even another survey of some 650 adults (nearly half were women) confirmed the previous numbers about the lack of knowledge about HPV. One interesting tidbit: A woman's desire to be vaccinated for HPV vacillate, depending on her association with cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. As women link the two, the less likely they will opt for the HPV vaccine.

Makes you wonder if the women surveyed would further balk if they really understood the cost for the HPV vaccine Gardasil -- more than $350 for a a three-dose regimen over six months -- or realized it's produced by the very same company (Merck) that makes drugs that kill their bones.

Fact is, cervical cancer is nearly 100 percent avoidable without relying on a vaccine.

EurekAlert November 12, 2006

Reuters UK November 13, 2006

News-Medical.Net November 14, 2006