Adults' knowledge and behaviors related to human papillomavirus infection

Bryan Holcomb, Joanne Motiño Bailey, Kathleen Crawford, Mack T. Ruffin IV

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Background: Our objective was to assess adults' knowledge, risk behaviors, and preference for information about human papillomavirus (HPV). Methods: A cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire given in 3 locations (a university health service and 2 community family practice offices); 289 people completed the questionnaire. The primary outcome measure was a knowledge score calculated from the responses on specific items in the questionnaire. This knowledge score was developed by other investigators and has acceptable psychometric properties. Results: Knowledge about HPV was low, with an average knowledge score of 5.50 (possible scores ranged from 0 to 14) and a mode of 0. Knowledge scores were significantly higher in women (P = .001) and married adults (P = .001). Knowledge scores were inversely related to age (P = .004) and positively correlated with years of education (P = .001) and self-assessment of knowledge (P < .001). Knowledge scores were positively correlated with condom use (P = .05) but not significantly associated with other risk behaviors. The most frequently desired time to receive information about HPV was before becoming sexually active. Conclusions: Adults seen in a typical family physician's office have limited knowledge of HPV. One tool family physicians can use to identify those with the least amount of knowledge is to ask patients how informed they are about HPV. The preferred time to receive information about HPV was before a patient became sexually active. However, it remains unclear whether educational intervention or knowledge changes risky behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-31
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Adults' knowledge and behaviors related to human papillomavirus infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this