Online Program

HPV Vaccine Knowledge and Beliefs Among a Sample of Florida Adults: Awareness of the Vaccine and HPV Risk Perception

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Adel Elkbuli, MD, MPH (c), Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Kumar Ilangovan, MD, MPH, Florida International University School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Marie Fatiel, MPH, Epidemiology, University of Miami, Miami, FL
Noella Dietz, PhD, Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, miami, FL

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines prevent HPV and are recommended for girls/boys, ages 9-26.  National vaccination rates remain relatively low, despite the vaccine’s potential to reduce HPV incidence and the prevalence of HPV-associated cancers. In this study, we examined levels of HPV awareness and knowledge to understand barriers and facilitators in knowledge to increase vaccination rates, and reasons associated with low HPV vaccine coverage among adults in Florida.


Data were collected using a cross-sectional population-level telephone survey of adults in Florida in the fall of 2013.  All data were entered into REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) software (Harris et al., 2009). The sampling frame was a vendor generated listed sample (Genesys, Inc.). Next,  a simple random sample was conducted to yield a sample list of 729 telephone numbers, where a random sample of 134 adults was used for this study. Inclusion criteria were age over 18 years and being the eldest female residing in the household or youngest male. Verbal informed consent was obtained from all participants.  Logistic regression analyses were done to understand determinants of HPV vaccination. Variables included sexual activity, HPV knowledge, risk perceptions, and demographic items.



The majority of participants reported sexual activity in the past year (81%). Most participants heard of HPV (78%), with 90% being aware HPV was a STI.  Participants perceived themselves at low risk for contracting HPV (54%) and women and men acknowledged both were at risk for contracting the virus (68%). However, the majority of the sample also believed they had a below average chance of getting HPV (52%), with only 14% of participants intending to get the HPV vaccine (p < 0.05).  Among those not planning to receive the vaccine (49%), reasons included no need for the vaccine/not sexually active (34%), too old/doctor did not recommend (40%), and other (26%). Adjusted odds ratios showed  a lower likelihood for higher HPV knowledge in older age groups and those with less than a college education, controlling for other covariates (p < 0.05).


Participants were aware of HPV and the vaccine; yet, they were less likely to be vaccinated or think they needed to be. The adjusted odds ratios showed older adults were less likely to be knowledgeable about HPV than adults in their 30’s and individuals with a high school degree or less were less likely to be knowledgeable about HPV relative to individuals who gradated from college.


The data show many Floridians aware of HPV and the vaccine. However, few adults believed they should be vaccinated. Public health messages should target adult beliefs and behaviors to increase awareness of their risk factors.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify HPV and HPV vaccine knowledge and beliefs among a random sample of adults 18 and older in Florida. Discuss risk awareness of HPV and HPV vaccine among a random sample of adults 18 and older in Florida.

Keyword(s): STDs/STI, Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a medical doctor and public health professional where I am currently finishing my master degree in epidemiology and public health sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine with significant clinical and public health research experiences, I would be competent to submit and present my research abstract at The APHA 143rd annual meeting and expo 2015. I have presented an oral presentation on last APHA 142nd annual meeting and expo 2014
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.