Objective: To investigate knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) and attitudes to HPV vaccination and condom use among Swedish first year upper secondary school students.
Methods: Classroom questionnaire filled in by 608 students from a strategic sample of seven upper secondary schools in Sweden.
Results: Only 13.5% (n = 82) of the students had heard about HPV and 6% (n = 35) were aware of HPV vaccination. As many as 84% (n = 508) would like to be vaccinated against HPV. The high cost of vaccination was the greatest obstacle (total group 37%, n = 227); among girls the second major hindrance was the fear of needles (19%, n = 65). Before considering an HPV vaccination 73% (n = 443) wanted more information and 36% (n = 220) would like to receive such information from the school nurse. The students considered it less likely that they would use a condom when having intercourse with a new partner if they were vaccinated than if they were not (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Despite intensive marketing directed at potential vaccine consumers, knowledge of HPV and of HPV vaccines was very low among first year upper secondary school students. Their attitude towards vaccination was positive but most of them wanted more information before considering vaccination.