Awareness and knowledge of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), HPV-related cancers, and HPV vaccines in an uninsured adult clinic population

Carmen Radecki Breitkopf, Lila J Rutten, Victoria Findley, Debra J. Jacobson, Patrick M. Wilson, Monica Albertie, Robert M. Jacobson, Gerardo Colon-Otero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines offer primary prevention of cervical cancer and protection against other HPV-associated cancers. HPV vaccine coverage in the United States (U.S.) remains low, particularly among older adolescents/young adults, and the uninsured. We assessed awareness and knowledge of HPV disease, HPV-related cancers, and HPV vaccines among working, uninsured adults. Data from the 2014 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 4, Cycle 4) were used as a benchmark. Patients were surveyed in late 2014 at the Volunteers in Medicine free clinic in Duval County, Florida. Surveys contained validated measures of HPV disease and vaccine knowledge; HPV-related cancer knowledge was also assessed. Two-hundred and ninety-six surveys were analyzable with an 84% participation rate. Half (50.3%) of participants had heard of HPV, and 32.1% had heard of the HPV vaccine; in HINTS, these estimates were 63.6% and 62.7%, respectively (both P < 0.0001). In adjusted models, high HPV disease knowledge was associated with white race and increased education; high vaccine knowledge was associated with white race, increased education, and female sex. Recognition of HPV as a causative agent was 43.9% for cervical, 9.1% for anal, and 11.1% for throat cancers. For all HPV-associated cancers, participants had lower knowledge/recognition relative to HINTS. The uninsured, socioeconomically disadvantaged adults we surveyed were unaware of a ubiquitous virus that can cause cancer and the existence of a vaccine to protect against it. These findings point to settings and populations in which initiatives to promote HPV vaccination as a cancer prevention tool remain critical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3346-3352
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016



  • Adult
  • health care disparities
  • knowledge
  • oncogenic viruses
  • papillomavirus vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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