Assessing Caregiver Health Literacy on HPV and the HPV Vaccine Based on Health Provider Communication




Fernando, Shane PhD MS
Hurt, Emily
Roane, Brandy Ph.D., CBSM
Whiting, Whitney
Ahmed, Syed


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Abstract Purpose: HPV is an easily spread sexual infection that is a leading cause of cervical cancer and contributes to penile, anal and throat cancer. Despite the high success rate of the HPV vaccine in targeting high risk strains of HPV, the rate of use of the vaccine remains low. This project aims to assess patient literacy about HPV and better understand the misconceptions that keep individuals from becoming vaccinated. We will also examine the role of provider education. The goal is to also increase awareness about HPV and the vaccine. Methods: Surveys were administered to parents of pediatric patients recruited at the UNTHSC Patient Care Center. After consenting and completing the multiple choice surveys, participants were given a brief education session concerning questions in the survey about HPV and the vaccine. They were also given a handout ‘What you need to know about Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)’ to keep. 10 days later participants were contacted to complete the same “follow up survey” to determine retention of knowledge. Results: The number of participants that reported prior HPV education by a health care provider equaled the number that denied previous education. On HPV knowledge assessment questions, the number of participants that chose the correct/true statement varied by question and by self-reported HPV education. The group that reported HPV education did not show greater knowledge then the other group. Conclusion: The facts that there is more than one type of HPV and that there is no cure for HPV are less well known. Although participants demonstrated some correct basic knowledge about HPV and the vaccine, there is a lack of complete understanding regarding the magnitude of the disease and the long term consequences. Further work should be aimed at increasing education and exploring the correlation with vaccine acceptance.