International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology ISSN: 2326-7234 Vol. 4 (4), pp. 134-144, April, 2016. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

HPV and Papanicolaou (Pap) smear: Compliance, knowledge and barriers for young women in Bathurst


Dean MR, Castro A, Huang M, Kemp U, Aladdin

AWestern Sydney University, Australia.

Corresponding author. E-mail:

Accepted 22 April, 2016


Introduction: Cervical cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide. Pap smears and HPV vaccinations allow for prevention, diagnosis and improved treatment for cervical cancer. Concerns have been raised about decreased Pap smear compliance due to misconceptions about the role of HPV vaccinations. This study aimed to assess the compliance of, the knowledge about and the barriers to receiving HPV vaccinations and Pap smears amongst the 18-30 year old females in Bathurst. Study Design: This descriptive study was conducted using an anonymous questionnaire that was distributed at various locations inthe Bathurst region. Results: 166 participants completed the survey. Of the92% (153) who were sexually active,59%had received ≥1 HPV vaccination and 58%were compliant with the Pap smear recommendations.  No relationship was established between vaccination status and Pap smear compliance (p=0.22).  Unemployment was the only factor negatively associated with HPV vaccination status. Greater knowledge scores were noted in the HPV vaccinated group compared with the non-vaccinated group (p<0.001). The most common barriers for Pap smears were patient discomfort and embarrassment (40%). Conclusion: This study demonstrated that women in the Bathurst region have a poor HPV vaccination rate. Although good Pap smear compliance was noted, identified barriers to Pap smears need to be addressed to further increase compliance. Further research needs to be conducted amongst HPV vaccinated females to continue to evaluate Pap smear compliance.

Key words: Cervix, cancer, cervical cancer, HPV, pap smear, women’s health.