Human Papilloma Virus; vaccination; college women; health disparities; health promotion; Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010)



Objective. This study describes Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates and possible factors influencing vaccination utilization rates in a diverse population of college women 18-26 years old.

Methods. The National College Health Assessment survey provided a large diverse sample size (N=67,762) in which to perform descriptive and binary logistic regression analysis. Demographic characteristics were analyzed as potential barriers to HPV vaccination. Additionally, lack of certain health behaviors were explored as potential barriers to HPV vaccination.

Results. In this study, White/non-Hispanic women had a higher HPV vaccination rate when compared to minority women. Binary regression analysis demonstrated that minority women were less likely to receive the HPV vaccine. Women who received a gynecological exam were more likely to receive the vaccine, as were women who had health insurance coverage. Health indicators predictive of receiving the HPV vaccine included receiving the influenza vaccine and not reporting obesity. Furthermore, as the age of the respondents increased, the likelihood of receiving the vaccine decreased. Similarly as the number of reported sexual partners increased the likelihood of receiving the HPV vaccine increased.

Conclusion. Advocacy for increased provider visits (i.e., gynecological exams) and other preventive health services (such as influenza vaccine drives) in the female student population could be an opportunity for increased HPV education and vaccination. Realization that minority women in higher education may have lower HPV vaccination rates may be a catalyst for student health departments to explore health promotion activities to benefit these women.


Timmerie Cohen PhD

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