Introduction As is the case in many developing countries, more than half of the new cervical cancer cases in Georgia are late-stage diagnoses, thus reducing the opportunity for effective treatment. A state cancer screening programme was launched in Tbilisi in 2006; 5 years later the programme had expanded to other regions in Georgia.
Methods This study was designed to estimate awareness about human papillomavirus (HPV), cervical cancer screening, the HPV vaccine, and the seroprevalence of HPV infection among reproductive-aged Georgian women. Study participants were recruited from four women's consultation centres in different regions of Georgia. Data were collected through interviewer-administered questionnaires and HPV seroprevalence was assessed for HPV types 6/11/16/18.
Results Of the 500 study participants, 52.0% were aware of HPV and 36.4% stated that the main cause of cervical cancer is HPV. Of those aware of HPV, 78% reported attending for cervical cancer screening at least once during their lifetime. Half (50.8%) of all respondents were unaware of the HPV vaccine. Of the women who agreed to be tested for anti-HPV antibodies (n=317), 21.1% were positive. Women reporting no condom use were more likely to have HPV antibodies (prevalence ratio 2.77; 95% confidence interval 1.79–4.27). Awareness of cervical cancer screening was significantly associated with HPV seropositivity. With multivariate analysis, both absence of condom use and lack of knowledge about cervical cancer screening were independently associated with HPV seropositivity.
Conclusion More comprehensive public awareness campaigns should be developed to raise awareness about HPV screening and prevention.
- human papillomavirus
- cervical cancer screening
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