Objectives: We examined the association of Internet-related communication inequalities on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine awareness and infection knowledge.
Methods: We drew data from National Cancer Institute's 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey (n = 7674). We estimated multivariable logistic regression models to assess Internet use and Internet health information seeking on HPV vaccine awareness and infection knowledge.
Results: Non-Internet users, compared with general Internet users, had significantly lower odds of being aware of the HPV vaccine (odds ratio [OR] = 0.42; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.34, 0.51) and knowing that HPV causes cervical cancer (OR = 0.70; 95% CI = 0.52, 0.95). Among general health information seekers, non-Internet seekers compared with Internet information seekers exhibit significantly lower odds of HPV vaccine awareness (OR = 0.59; 95% CI = 0.46, 0.75), and of knowing about the link between HPV infection and cervical cancer (OR = 0.79; 95% CI = 0.63, 0.99) and the sexual transmission of HPV (OR = 0.71; 95% CI = 0.57, 0.89). Among cancer information seekers, there were no differences in outcomes between Internet seekers and non-Internet seekers.
Conclusions: Use of a communication channel, such as the Internet, whose use is already socially and racially patterned, may widen observed disparities in vaccine completion rates.