243290 HPV Knowledge and Beliefs, Acceptance of the HPV Vaccine, and Intentions to Practice Safer Sex Behaviors among Female College Students

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Theresa Scorcia-Wilson, PhD , Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Control, Michigan Department of Community Health, Lansing, MI
Karen Perrin, PhD , Community and Family Health, University of South Florida College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Ellen Daley, PhD , Community and Family Health, University of South Florida College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Jeffrey D. Kromrey, PhD , Educational Measurement and Research, University of South Florida, College of Education, Tampa, FL
Robert J. McDermott, PhD , Department of Community & Family Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Background. Human papillomavirus (HPV), a public health issue related to anogenital cancers and genital warts, is common among college-aged women. The HPV vaccine effectively prevents certain high and low risk HPV types. Purpose. Utilizing the Health Belief Model and Theory of Planned Behavior as theoretical frameworks, we examined knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about HPV, as well as HPV vaccine acceptance, and intentions to practice safer sex behaviors among female university students. Methods. Female students ages 18-24 (N=2,706) from three U.S. public universities completed an online survey. Results. Most participants were knowledgeable about HPV and the vaccine. Approximately 37.3% reported receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. Most participants thought their susceptibility to HPV was low. Whereas 54% thought they were unlikely to contract HPV, 53.6% thought that HPV would be a serious problem for them. The safer sex behavior that participants reported easiest to adopt was refusing sex with a partner that would not use a condom (77.8% agree or strongly agree). Attitudes, normative beliefs, and control beliefs combined to predict intentions (R=.730, p < .001), with attitudes as the strongest predictor of intentions to practice safer sex (=.666), 95% CI [.649, .711]. There was a significant positive correlation between vaccine acceptance and intentions to practice safer sex (r=.087, p<.001), including likelihood of receiving the HPV vaccine (r=.098, p<.001). Conclusions. Student health centers can promote vaccine acceptance and adoption of safer sex practices as part of comprehensive prevention programs that emphasize the growing normativeness of preventive actions.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify factors of HPV vaccine acceptance that are significantly associated with intentions to practice safer sex behaviors, including likelihood of getting vaccinated against HPV.

Keywords: STD Prevention, Cervical Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the research associated with this abstract.
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.