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Although screening for pre-cancerous cervical lesions and human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination are accepted and effective means to prevent cervical cancer, women in Mali have limited access to these interventions. In addition, cervical cancer prevention by HPV vaccination has been controversial in some settings. To reduce cervical cancer prevalence and increase HPV vaccine uptake, it is important to understand the level of knowledge about cervical cancer screening and practices related to vaccination in at-risk populations. In this study, the level of knowledge about HPV and cervical cancer and attitudes towards vaccination were assessed among 301 participants (male and female, adults and adolescents) in a house-to-house survey in two urban neighborhoods in Bamako, Mali. The survey was combined with a brief educational session on HPV. Prior to the education session, overall knowledge of HPV infection and cervical cancer was very low: only 8% knew that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Less than 20% of women had ever consulted a gynecologist and less than 3% had ever had cervical cancer screening. After hearing a description of HPV vaccine, more than 80% would accept HPV vaccination; fathers and husbands were identified as primary decisions makers and local clinics or the home as preferred sites for vaccination. This study provides information on STI knowledge and vaccine acceptance in Bamako, Mali in 2012, prior to the introduction of HPV vaccination.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.