ATHENS - A Trial of HPV Education and Support

Research theme(s): 
Research workstream(s): 
Related staff: 
Ms Lisa McSherry (former staff)
Mr Eamonn O'Leary (former staff)
Prof Linda Sharp (former staff)
Collaborators & co-investigators: 
Dr Stephan Dombrowski, University of Stirling
Prof Jill Francis, City University London
Dr Cara Martin, Coombe Hospital, Dublin
Prof John O’Leary, Coombe Hospital, Dublin
Funding source: 
Friends of the Coombe Hospital
Athens project logo

The knowledge that infection with certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer is changing the way societies are approaching cervical cancer prevention. Testing for HPV infection is currently being introduced into screening programmes in Ireland and internationally and vaccinations against HPV infection are available. GPs and practice nurses play a major role in cervical cancer prevention, and their attitudes and clinical behaviours affect women’s cervical cancer prevention behaviours. As public awareness of HPV grows, it is likely that more people will seek practitioners’ advice on HPV testing, vaccination and infection: therefore, GPs and practice nurses increasingly need to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest scientific evidence in this area so that they can deal with questions about HPV in their practice and provide women with high-quality and appropriate advice. Research conducted by us and others suggests that one influence on practitioners’ HPV-related clinical practice is what they know about HPV, but that they have significant gaps in their knowledge and uncertainties about “best practice”.

The ATHENS study is developing resources to support GPs’ and practice nurses’ HPV-related clinical practice. The intervention is being developed using psychological theory and techniques known to be effective in changing clinical behaviours.

ATHENS will help ensure patients receive the highest quality advice and care and maximise the likelihood that cervical cancer prevention strategies will succeed. 

The study is being undertaken under the umbrella of CERVIVA ( - a major research consortium involving several hospitals, university departments, and other institutions across Ireland. The consortium is carrying out a range of projects related to screening for cervical cancer and HPV.

Related papers: Related presentations: 

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