Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are very common among sexually active adults. According to McCusker et al. (2013), “anogenital human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are the most prevalent viral sexually transmitted diseases in the world today” (p. 266). Research conducted by Faridi, Zahra, Khan, and Idrees (2011) established that persistent infections with the virus can lead to cervical cancer. These findings point to the fact that HPV presents a great health problem. As a result, vaccines have been identified as the best way to reduce the infections of HPV. Due to the critical role played by HPV vaccinations, the following paper provides a gap analysis. It will explore knowledge acquisition of HPV infections and cervical cancer and how the knowledge affects the decision-making about the uptake of HPV vaccine in women.
Does the acquisition of knowledge of HPV infection and its association with cervical cancer influence the decisions to uptake HPV vaccinations among women?
The causal role of HPV infections in cervical cancer has been explored extensively. According to Schiffman, Castle, Jeronimo, Rodriguez, and Wacholder (2010), the etiology of the HPV infections and cervical cancer has been a major discovery in health care. Barroso (2013) stated, “a total of 90% of anal cancers are caused by human papillomavirus infection of the anal canal” (p. 81). To reduce the infections, there have been increased campaigns to vaccinate women against HPV. This has led to studies that investigate the uptake and the implications of the HPV vaccines. However, it is worth noting that most of the studies have not concentrated on the acquisition of knowledge of HPV infections. This negates the role of knowledge in the prevention and treatment of infections (Menear, Grindrod, Clouston, Norton & Légaré, 2012). Hence, there is a research gap.
The main strategy for the prevention of HPV infections and the consequences related to the infections such as cervical cancer has been the advocacy of early screening and vaccination. Barroso (2013) noted that prevention of exposure to high-risk HPV strains by use of immunization is the most viable and logistically feasible strategy to avert cervical cancer caused by HPV. To increase the number of women who attend the voluntary screening, there is the need for women to have adequate knowledge about HPV (Palefsky & Cranston, 2012). Menear et al. (2012) added that knowledge acquisition plays an important role in the primary and secondary prevention of diseases. Palefsky and Cranston (2012) stated that knowledge acquisition of HPV and its association with cervical cancer can contribute to the decisions to increase the uptake of HPV vaccines. Thus, it can be deduced that inadequate knowledge acquisition contributes to low vaccination rates, and hence the prevalence of HPV infections will keep on increasing. Therefore, the information about knowledge acquisition among women can help in the design of primary interventions to prevent HPV infections.
The phenomenological study design will be applied to investigate the knowledge acquisition of human HPV infections and the HPV vaccine among women.
The study design will help in determining the perceptions, and the understanding of the HPV and HPV vaccine. The data collection method will entail the use of questionnaires. Open-ended questionnaires will be sent to the study participants via electronic mail. The study will be qualitative. This is because the study will not deal with empirical data. It will focus on the description of perceptions, perspectives, and the understanding of the HPV and how the knowledge influences the study participants to seek HPV screening and vaccination. The use of open-ended questionnaires will allow the study participants to provide detailed explanations.
Acquisition of the Study Participants
The study targets women aged between 18-45 years. The research participants will be acquired through simple random sampling. Simple random sampling ensures that units in a study population have an equal probability of being selected. The sampling procedure will target women within the stipulated age bracket attending inpatient and outpatient care. This will be in health care centers that will be purposively selected in the United States of America. The women will have to provide written or verbal consent. The names of the women who accept to participate in the study will then be subjected to a random number generator. This will help in the selection of the study sample. The planned study sample will include 100 participants.
HPV infections and cervical cancer present a great health challenge and deteriorate the quality of life of women. HPV vaccination has been identified as the best way to prevent infections. Studies show that knowledge acquisition plays a critical role in the prevention of diseases. However, the knowledge acquisition among women in matters that relate to HPV and cervical cancer has not been extensively explored. Thus, the study will aim to investigate the knowledge acquisition among women aged 18-45 years and how it relates to the uptake of the HPV vaccination.
Barroso, L. (2013). The role of human papillomavirus vaccination in the prevention of anal cancer in individuals with Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 infection. Therapeutic Advances in Vaccines, 1(2), 81-92.
Faridi, R., Zahra, A., Khan, K., & Idrees, M. (2011). Oncogenic potential of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and its relation with cervical cancer. Virology Journal, 8(269), 1-8.
McCusker, S., Macqueen, I., Lough, G., MacDonald, A., Campbell, C., & Graham, S. (2013). Gaps in detailed knowledge of human papillomavirus and the HPV vaccine among medical students in Scotland. Journal of Biomedical and Public Health, 13(1), 264-266.
Menear, M., Grindrod, K., Clouston, K., Norton, P., & Légaré, F. (2012). Advancing knowledge translation in primary care. Canadian Family Physician, 58(6), 623- 627.
Palefsky, J., & Cranston, R. (2012). Virology of human papillomavirus infections and the link to cancer. Health Education Research, 17(1), 706-714.
Schiffman, M., Castle, P., Jeronimo, J., Rodriguez, C., & Wacholder, S. (2010). Human papillomavirus and cervical cancer. The Lancet, 370(9590), 890-907.