Cervical cancer is prevalent in the Caribbean region, particularly in the Bahamas, but there have been few studies on Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and HPV vaccine in the region. The purpose of this study was to assess school-aged youth in the Bahamas’ knowledge and awareness of HPV and the HPV vaccine. The “Getting to Zero” HIV study in the Bahamas was conducted in 2014/2015, and cross-sectional data were obtained. Using previously validated scales, the questionnaire elicited information on HPV and HPV vaccine knowledge. Chi-square and Mann Whitney U tests were used to analyze the data. Only 10.7 percent of the school-aged youth in this study had ever heard of HPV. Knowledge of HPV and HPV vaccines was assessed on an HPV Knowledge and HPV Vaccine Knowledge scale for those who had heard of HPV. There was no statistically significant difference in mean HPV knowledge scores or HPV vaccine knowledge scores between men and women. In the Bahamas, there was a general lack of knowledge about HPV and HPV vaccines among school-aged youth.
This is a significant gap in the HPV vaccine strategy and cancer prevention because this is the age at which the majority of people contract HPV. It emphasizes the importance of developing a careful implementation plan that includes an assessment of knowledge and attitudes in order to have an effective HPV vaccination program.