Sex Transm Infect doi:10.1136/sextrans-2013-051402
  • Health services research
  • Original article

Knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in the USA, the UK and Australia: an international survey

Open Access
  1. Jo Waller1
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, UCL, London, UK
  2. 2Screening and Test Evaluation Program (STEP) and Centre for Medical Psychology & Evidence-based Decision-making (CeMPED), Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Faculty of Health Sciences, Healthy Communities Research Centre, The University of Queensland, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4Section of Adolescent Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Health Information & Translational Sciences, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr J Waller, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Health Behaviour Research Centre, UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK; j.waller{at}
  • Received 15 October 2013
  • Revised 22 November 2013
  • Accepted 8 December 2013
  • Published Online First 9 January 2014


Objective To measure knowledge and awareness of human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in the USA, the UK and Australia.

Methods Participants in the USA, UK and Australia completed an anonymous web-based survey measuring awareness and knowledge of HPV (n=2409). We report analyses on a subsample of 1473 men and women in the USA (n=617), UK (n=404) and Australia (n=452) who had heard of HPV and completed questions about HPV testing.

Results Overall, 50% of the sample (742/1473) had heard of HPV testing. Awareness of HPV testing was higher in the USA (62%) than in the UK (44%) and Australia (40%) (p<0.001). Among those who had heard of HPV testing, the mean knowledge score (out of 6) was 2.78 (SD: 1.49). No significant differences in knowledge score were found between the countries but, overall, women scored significantly higher than men (2.96 vs 2.52, p<0.001).

Conclusions Awareness of HPV testing among people who have heard of HPV is higher in the USA than in the UK and Australia, but overall knowledge is low. This has important implications in those countries where HPV testing is being used in cervical screening. Increasing knowledge about the implications of HPV test results may help minimise any negative psychological consequences associated with HPV testing. Raising awareness in men could become increasingly important if HPV testing is introduced into the management of other cancers where HPV plays an aetiological role.

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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