There is now overwhelming evidence that high-risk, sexually transmitted types of human papillomavirus (HPV) are the main causal agent in cervical cancer. Biobehavioral and psychosocial research is uniquely capable of addressing many of the issues raised by HPV and its link with cervical cancer. In this article we review current findings in this area and identify issues for future research. The first of the three sections explores issues associated with the introduction of HPV testing for the detection and management of cervical abnormalities and the impact of growing public awareness of the sexually transmitted nature of cervical cancer. The implications for public understanding of cervical cancer, psychosocial issues associated with screening, and the potential impact on screening uptake are discussed. The second section addresses the role of biobehavioral factors in the persistence and progression of HPV infection as well as possible interventions to minimize the risk of persistence. Finally, primary prevention of HPV is discussed.
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