Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Grand Hall area
College students are at high risk for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, yet little is known regarding their intention to undergo HPV vaccination.
To examine HPV vaccine intention among females ages 18-26 attending a university-based gynecology clinic.
Sociodemographics, medical and sexual history, HPV-related knowledge and personal beliefs, and intention to undergo HPV vaccination were ascertained through questionnaires and medical records from women enrolled in a randomized study of HPV-specific education plus reminder letter on HPV vaccine uptake.
Most of the 222 participants were Caucasian (68%), single (86%), undergraduates (71.6%), and currently sexually active (72.6%), with median age of 21 years. Common reasons cited by the 96 (43.2%) females intending to undergo HPV vaccination included worry about getting HPV (68.8%), cervical cancer (67.7%) or genital warts (50%). Common reasons cited by the 69 (31.1%) females not intending to undergo HPV vaccination included concerns about vaccine safety (50.7%), side effects (49.3%) or long term consequences (40.6%), high out-of-pocket or insurance co-pay costs (42%), and not being at risk for HPV (30.4%). One-fourth of participants were unsure regarding HPV vaccine intent. Sociodemographics, medical and sexual history, and HPV-related knowledge did not predict HPV vaccine intent, except those who were currently sexually active [OR: 0.27 (0.10-0.77)] and those who did not have private health insurance [OR: 0.38 (0.18-0.79)] were significantly less likely to intend to undergo vaccination. Participants who believed that getting the HPV vaccine would help them stay healthy, that they are likely to get genital HPV infection in their lifetime, and that their parents would approve of them getting the HPV vaccine were significantly more likely to intend to undergo HPV vaccination compared to those not holding these beliefs.
Interventions to increase HPV vaccine intention and, ultimately, uptake should address personal HPV-related beliefs in addition to broader barriers to vaccination.