205146 College students' knowledge, attitudes and informational behaviors in regards to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jessica Sandfort, BS , Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY
Objective: To assess college students' knowledge, attitudes and informational behaviors in regards to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Participants/Methods: Students (N=1,282) at a large, public university in the Northeastern United States completed a questionnaire during February 2008 assessing HPV knowledge, prevalence, transmission, cervical cancer risk and stigma; sexual behavior, vaccination status, as well as past and preferred sources of information about HPV and sexual health. Results: A majority of respondents have heard of HPV. However, their understanding was insufficient and spotty in several important areas including routes of transmission and the high prevalence rate of this common virus. Overwhelmingly, respondents heard about HPV via television commercials yet preferred to obtain sexual health information from physicians. Hearing about HPV on a television commercial was associated with increased knowledge about HPV. Increased knowledge of HPV is associated with less stigma about the virus. Men exhibit a higher level of stigma in regards to HPV as well as less knowledge than do women. Conclusions: Publicly funded health campaigns aimed at increasing knowledge and health literacy about HPV are overdue and necessary. This is especially true for efforts targeting young adults about this extremely common sexually transmitted infection.

Learning Objectives:
Explain college students' extent of knowledge about HPV. Discuss college students' attitudes and stigma related to HPV. Identify college students' actual and desired sources of information about sexual health and HPV.

Keywords: College Students, STD

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I completed my undergraduate honors thesis on college students' knowledge about HPV. I completed my own research study surveying college students about their knowledge, attitudes and informational behaviors in regards to HPV. I attained my undergraduate bachelor of science degree in public health and am currently enrolled in a MPH program concentrating on social science research in public health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.