HPV remains the most common STI in the U.S. despite the widespread availability of a safe, effective vaccine. Although young teenagers and adults are at the most significant risk of HPV infection, extensive vaccine promotion and intervention efforts have been directed toward 11–12-year-olds.
College students represent an ideal audience for HPV vaccine “catch-up;” however, research indicates inconsistent HPV vaccination rates within this demographic. Researchers distributed an online survey assessing HPV and HPV vaccine knowledge and behaviors in all undergraduate college students at a large public university in the Deep South region of the U.S. The primary outcome was the receipt of HPV vaccination. One thousand seven hundred twenty-five participants completed the survey. Out of the total, 47.0% reported having received at least one dose of HPV vaccine; overall series completion was 17.4%. The primary outcome was HPV initiation among college students, defined as having received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine.
The study concluded that there were substantial gaps in participants’ knowledge of their vaccination status. Provider and parental recommendations and social influences significantly impact student vaccination status, emphasizing the importance of incorporating these elements in future interventions, potentially as multi-level strategies.