Examining Disparities in HPV Testing Knowledge among Women in the United States

Galvin, Annalynn
Garg, Ashvita
Matthes, Sarah
Thompson, Erika
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Purpose: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of 99% of cervical cancers. In the US, HPV testing has recently been adopted as an option for cervical cancer screening in women over 30 years of age. Knowledge of HPV testing is important in influencing the acceptance of HPV testing among women. This study examined the association of sociodemographic covariates in relation to the knowledge of HPV testing among women in the United States. Methods: Women, ages 30 to 65 years, without hysterectomy, completed an online survey (N=812). The analytic sample was restricted to 507 women who were aware of HPV testing. The outcome, HPV testing knowledge, was calculated using a six-item validated scale. Sociodemographic covariates included: age, race, ethnicity, education level, income level, insurance status, relationship status, religious affiliation, and if previously had HPV vaccination. Multiple regression was used to identify variables that were uniquely associated with greater HPV testing knowledge using SAS 9.4. Results: The average age of women in the sample was 44 years, and there was a mean HPV testing knowledge score of 2.8 (out of 6). The multiple regression analysis revealed four independent correlates related to HPV testing knowledge. Lower knowledge was observed in older women compared to younger women (β = −.02, p = .01). Lower knowledge was also observed in women who did not have any health insurance (β = −.56, p = .02) or who did not know if they had ever received the HPV vaccination (β = −.83, p Conclusions: Findings from the study can be used to develop targeted prevention strategies and initiatives to improve HPV testing knowledge among women with HPV knowledge disparities. Improving HPV testing knowledge may promote uptake of this screening tool, and ultimately prevent cervical cancer morbidity and mortality.