Assessing university students' sexual risk behaviors as predictors of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake behavior.
OBJECTIVES: There exists a significant gap in vaccine coverage of the human papillomavirus (HPV) among college-aged students. This study assessed sexual risk-taking behavior among university students and analyzed predictors of HPV vaccine initiation and completion in this population. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data (n = 746) were from an anonymous online, cross-sectional survey distributed to university students, between the ages of 19-26 years, at a private Midwestern university. Both chi-square and multivariable logistics regression models estimated the association between sociodemographic characteristics and sexual risk factors (including number of vaginal sexual partners, number of oral sexual partners, initiation of oral sex, and initiation of vaginal sex), with HPV vaccine initiation and completion. RESULTS: A significant number of participants (40%) had not received a single dose of the HPV vaccine series. Of those who initiated the series, more than half (51%) did not achieve completion. Additionally, a greater number of participants have had multiple (4 or more) oral sexual partners than vaginal sexual partners (25.7% vs. 20.3%). After adjusting for covariates, it was found that sexual risk factors were not significantly associated with HPV vaccine initiation or completion. CONCLUSION: HPV vaccine initiation and completion rates are suboptimal among university students. High levels of sexual-risk taking behaviors associated with HPV infection persist, yet are not significant predictors of HPV vaccine behaviors in this age group. To increase uptake among 18-26-year-old students, future public health interventions should focus on HPV vaccine education and uptake across the entire population, irrespective of sexual risk profile.
Rohde, RL; Adjei Boakye, E; Christopher, KM; Geneus, CJ; Walker, RJ; Varvares, MA; Osazuwa-Peters, N
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