Background: If women who receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine are unduly reassured about the cancer prevention benefits of vaccination, they may choose not to participate in screening, thereby increasing their risk for cervical cancer. This study assesses adult women's knowledge of the need to continue cervical cancer screening after HPV vaccination, describes Pap test intentions of vaccinated young adult women, and evaluates whether knowledge and intentions differ across groups at greatest risk for cervical cancer.
Methods: Data were from the 2008 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) and the 2008 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which initiated data collection approximately 18 months after the first FDA approval of an HPV vaccine. We calculated associations between independent variables and the outcomes using chi-square tests.
Results: Of 1586 female HINTS respondents ages 18 through 74, 95.6% knew that HPV-vaccinated women should continue to receive Pap tests. This knowledge did not vary significantly by race/ethnicity, education, income, or healthcare access. Among 1101 female NHIS respondents ages 18-26 who had ever received a Pap test, the proportion (12.7%; n=139) who reported receipt of the HPV vaccine were more likely than those not vaccinated to plan to receive a Pap test within three years (98.1% vs. 92.5%, p<0.001).
Conclusions: US adult women possess high knowledge and intention to participate in Pap testing after HPV vaccination. The vast majority of young adult women who received the HPV vaccine within its first two years on the market intend to participate in cervical cancer screening in the near future. Future studies are needed to examine whether those vaccinated in adolescence will become aware of, and adhere to, screening guidelines as they become eligible.
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