In Zimbabwe, the most prevalent cancer in women is cervical cancer (CC) and in men is Kaposi Sarcoma (KS). A major risk factor for CC is Human Papillomavirus (HPV). For KS, the major risk factor is Human Herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8). The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge of HPV and HHV-8, perception of risk, and perceived barriers to treatment among selected students at Africa University, Zimbabwe.

A questionnaire was distributed to participants (n=130). N=127 completed and n=3 did not. SPSS was used for data analysis. A mean knowledge score on HPV was 8.66 (7.98) out of 30 and on HHV-8 was 5.72 (5.83) out of 25. For perception of risk, 73.2% (n=90) believed they were moderately and extremely at risk every time they engage in sex, 55.8% (n=63) believed were moderately and extremely worried about contracting HHV-8 and 64.7% (n=79) were moderately and extremely worried about contracting HPV. Findings regarding participants’ perceived barriers to accessing health facilities for STIs screening or treatment comprised of the following: 52.9% (n=64) did not consider access to medical facilities as a barrier, 83.5% (n=101) wanted to know about their status if infected and 36.3% (n=45) considered lack of knowledge on STIs a barrier. Most common source with 44.9% (n=52) was the internet. Sampled students are not knowledgeable on HPV and HHV-8, but know they are at risk and are willing to address these health issues.

In overall, there is a great need for educational programming. STI related facilities are available in Zimbabwe for students to access. HPV or HHV-8 related education programming should be focused in hospitals and clinics. HPV vaccination programming should be administered actively throughout the country. Further research should consider broadening the study to other post-secondary institutions, involve faculty and staff participation, collect data in rural areas and focus on CC and KS.


Dawn Larsen

Committee Member

Autumn Hamilton

Committee Member

Judith Luebke

Committee Member

Marge Muray-Davis

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Health Science


Allied Health and Nursing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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