The association of human papillomavirus vaccination with sexual behaviours and human papillomavirus knowledge: a systematic review

Int J STD AIDS. 2015 Oct;26(11):777-88. doi: 10.1177/0956462414554629. Epub 2014 Oct 8.


Since the 2008 introduction of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme for adolescent girls in the UK, parents and other groups have expressed fears that immunisation condones sexual activity, promotes promiscuity and encourages risky sexual behaviour. This study aimed to explore whether HPV vaccination programmes have increased knowledge surrounding HPV and associated disease and whether uptake has influenced sexual behaviour. MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library and PsycINFO electronic databases were interrogated. Studies of behaviour, attitudes and knowledge associated with HPV vaccination (or vaccination intent) in subjects of any age and gender in programmes reflective of UK practice were included in the review (n = 58). The evidence regarding the association of HPV vaccination with high-risk sexual behaviour was varied, primarily due to the heterogeneous nature of the included studies. Young females typically exhibited better knowledge than males, and vaccinated respondents (or those with vaccination intent) had higher levels of knowledge than the unvaccinated. However, knowledge surrounding HPV and genital warts was generally poor. This review highlights the need to provide effective education regarding the HPV vaccine and HPV-associated disease to adolescents of vaccination age, nurses, teachers, parents and guardians to ultimately allow informed decisions to be made regarding receipt of the HPV vaccine.

Keywords: HPV; Human papillomavirus; genital warts; sexual behaviours; sexually transmitted infection; vaccination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomaviridae / immunology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vaccination*


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines