U.S. Navy Women’s Knowledge on the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine

U.S. Navy Women’s Knowledge on the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine

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Name: Jennifer Buechel

Rank: CDR

Presenter/Poster: Podium

Year: 2018

Abstract

Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a leading etiology for cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. HPV prevalence is higher among U.S. service women than in comparable age and geographical regions adjusted to U.S. civilian populations. Although HPV rates are higher in the U.S. military, research reports low HPV vaccine rates among U.S. service women.

Methods: The aim of this study was to examine the HPV knowledge and HPV vaccine uptake among U.S. Navy personnel assigned to ships in the Pacific Fleet. In 2015, participants (N = 233) were asked to complete an online 63-item survey using a validated measure that examined HPV knowledge and HPV vaccine uptake. For this analysis, we examined U.S. Navy women’s (n = 59) HPV vaccine knowledge using a 13-item subscale. Higher scores on the HPV vaccine knowledge subscale indicated higher levels of HPV vaccine knowledge.

Results: Overall 92% (n = 54) of the U.S. Navy women surveyed had heard of the HPV vaccine. The U.S. Navy women who completed the HPV vaccine knowledge subscale had scores of Mdn = 6.6 (Range = 12). The majority of the women correctly answered the HPV vaccine is offered to girls 11 – 26 years of age (n = 51, 86.4%), the HPV vaccine requires 3 doses (n = 45, 76.3%), and the HPV vaccine does not protect against all sexually transmitted infections (n = 44, 74.6%). The minority of the women correctly answered the HPV vaccine is licensed for women 30 – 45 years (n =15, 25.4%), both vaccines that are available (Gardasil and Cervarix) protect against both genital warts and cervical cancer (n = 14, 23.7%), and one of the HPV vaccines offers prevention against genital warts (n = 12, 20.3%).

Conclusion: The findings suggest that U.S. Navy women are aware of the HPV vaccine and have average HPV vaccine knowledge. However, clearer messages need to be provided to women that describe select concepts surrounding HPV vaccine. Results may enhance existing knowledge by allowing health care professionals to understand content needed to develop effective HPV immunization programs and policies.