Giving patients information on abnormal cytology and human papillomavirus: survey of health providers.
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OBJECTIVES: Knowledge of the link between HPV and cervical cancer is low among women. Health providers may be required to give information and counseling on HPV. This study surveyed health providers' comfort in counseling women about HPV. METHODS: Physicians, nurses and midwives attending a lecture on HPV completed a questionnaire (before the lecture) on their comfort level answering questions that a woman with an abnormal Pap may ask her health provider. Comfort level with knowledge was assessed on a 7-point Likert scale, with seven being very comfortable. RESULTS: Of the 96 attendees, 57.3% (55/96) were eligible and completed the questionnaire. Two-thirds of respondents were physicians (61.8%; 34/55), 38.2% were nurses or midwives (21/55). Telling a partner about HPV infection was the question about which the most respondents were very comfortable (69.1% answering 6 or 7) and chances of developing cervical cancer was the item about which the fewest respondents reported being very comfortable (36.4%). CONCLUSIONS: Less than one-half to two-thirds of health providers self-reported being very comfortable answering HPV-related questions that a woman may ask. More information is needed regarding health providers' actual knowledge of HPV and women's wishes for information.
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