Dr. Hong examines HPV and cervical awareness among Chinese female sex workers

September 4, 2013
Yan Hong, Ph.D.

Yan Hong, Ph.D.

Yan Hong, Ph.D., associate professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, is lead author of an article on female sex workers in China and their experience with Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer awareness.

“HPV and Cervical Cancer Related Knowledge, Awareness and Testing Behaviors in a Community Sample of Female Sex Workers in China,” was published recently online in BMC Public Health. From 1992 to 2002 cervical cancer rates in China for women ages 25-44 increased significantly. While HIV testing has become much more common, knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer screening and prevention is much less known in China, especially in high risk groups such as female sex workers.

Researchers interviewed over 300 Chinese female sex workers to determine their level of knowledge about HPV, cervical cancer, and preventive health behaviors. This study showed that while many were aware of cervical cancer, only about 20 percent had heard about HPV and less than 10 percent viewed themselves at risk of cervical cancer.

The paper concluded that while female sex workers in China are at a much higher risk of having HPV, most are unaware of the risks or how to properly avoid infection. Researchers recommend culturally appropriate interventions to promote awareness of cervical cancer screening and prevention as well as providing low or no-cost vaccines or prevention programs to these at-risk women.

Additional authors include Chen Zhang, M.P.H., Emory University; Xiaoming Li, Ph.D., Wayne State University School of Medicine; Danhua Lin, Ph.D., Beijing Normal University; and Yingjie Liu, M.D., Chaoyang District Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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