Objective: To assess knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) and perceived barriers to being vaccinated against the virus. Participants: Three hundred ninety-six undergraduate women enrolled at Penn State University in Fall 2008. Methods: A random sample of students were invited to participate in a Web-based survey. Results: Awareness of HPV and the vaccine was high, but knowledge of HPV-related facts averaged only 65% overall. Knowledge was significantly predicted by frequency of media exposure and physician encouragement to be vaccinated, but not by the number of sex partners nor the frequency of condom/dental dam use. On average, women indicated that 2 of the 10 barriers listed applied to them. Physician encouragement negatively predicted barriers at p =.066. No other predictors approached significance. Conclusions: Serious misconceptions remain about specific aspects of the diseases and how they are acquired. Health education efforts are needed to improve knowledge in college populations and counteract perceived barriers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health