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IJMDC. 2021; 5(8): 1507-1513

Primary health care physicians' awareness toward human papillomavirus infection, screening, and vaccinations in Qassim region, Saudi Arabia

Abdulrhman M. Aldukhayel, Aram A. Aldughayyim, Hamad S. ALsaeed, Ibrahim A. Alomar, Leen M. Almaghyuli, Turki S. Alayed.


Background: Human papilloma viruses (HPV) are pathogens known to be the leading cause of cervical cancer. It is the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide. It is becoming more prevalent in Saudi Arabia over the last few years. This study aimed to assess primary healthcare centers (PHC) physicians’ awareness of HPV infection, screening, and vaccinations in the Qassim region, Saudi Arabia.
Methodology: This cross-sectional study was conducted among primary healthcare physicians at 155 PHC in Qassim, Saudi Arabia. A validated questionnaire was distributed among physicians in PHC centers. The questionnaire includes socio-demographic characteristics, questions about the importance of the HPV vaccine and how often they recommend it to patients, and multiple questions about the knowledge toward HPV infection and vaccination. All statistical analyses were carried out using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 26.
Results: Most physicians (94.7%) perceived the HPV vaccine as necessary, while their routine practice toward the recommendation of the HPV vaccine to their patients was poor (26.2%). The overall knowledge about HPV infection and physicians’ vaccination was generally sufficient. The statistical test revealed that the older age group (Z = 3.108; p = 0.002), non-Saudis (Z = -2.710; p = 0.007) showed significantly better knowledge about HPV vaccine while family physicians exhibited better knowledge about HPV infection (Z = -3.286; p = 0.001). On the other hand, physicians who perceived vaccines as necessary were associated with increased knowledge about HPV infection and vaccination.
Conclusion: The consensus of physicians’ knowledge about HPV infection and HPV vaccination was moderate. Their perception about the importance of vaccines is highly commendable; however, their recommendation of the HPV vaccine to their patients seems to be minimal.

Key words: Human papillomavirus, infection, vaccine, primary health care, cervical cancer, Saudi Arabia.

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