Increased HPV Knowledge Could Lead to Increased Vaccination Rates

Improving vaccination rates for the most common STI in the United States could be as simple as increasing knowledge about HPV.

A lack of knowledge about human papillomavirus (HPV) among women of reproductive age is a barrier to HPV vaccination, and an increase in education may increase vaccine uptake. This is according to research results presented at IDWeek 2022, held October 19 through 23 in Washington, D.C.

Human papillomavirus (HPV), asexually transmitted infection (STI) that can cause cervical cancer and increased risk of HIVis the most common STI in the United States. Although there is an effective vaccine available for HPV, vaccination rates and coverage remain low.

In order to evaluate knowledge around HPV screening and vaccination, researchers conducted a study of HIV-negative, cisgender, sexually active women between the ages of 18 and 45 for a study on HPV.Participants included women of reproductive age living in Miami, Florida—a city with high rates of STIs and low HPV vaccination coverage.

Participants’ socio-demographics and sexual behaviors were assessed, and questionnaires to assess their HPV knowledge, screening, and vaccination practices were completed. An HPV knowledge score was then calculated.

Out of 67 total participants enrolled, 54 knew their vaccination status and were included in the analysis. The median age of participants was 26 years old; 50% were White, 26% were Black, and 33% were Hispanic. The median age of first sexual encounter was 18 years, the mean number of sexual partners in previous months was 1.45, and 33% of participants had prior pregnancies.

The mean HPV knowledge score was 13.4±8.84 out of 29 possible points. Only 43% reported a history of HPV screening through a Pap smear. Of the barriers to HPV vaccination, 28% reported low-risk perception, 24% reported healthcare barriers, and 41% reported vaccine hesitancy.


Results of multivariate logistic regression showed that a 1-point increase in the HPV knowledge score increased odds of vaccination by 21.5% (95% CI, 0.8%-3.67%; P <.01).

"Findings suggest low HPV knowledge among women of reproductive age in a high-risk area, and suggest that increasing knowledge may reduce barriers to HPV vaccination and increase vaccine uptake,” the researchers concluded.


1. Paz AV, Nogueria NF, Kelsey G. Knowledge, attitudes, and practices towards HPV vaccination among reproductive-age women in an HIV hotspot in the US. Presented at: IDWeek 2022; October 19–23, 2022; Washington, DC. Poster 113.