Is HPV vaccine awareness associated with HPV knowledge level? Findings from HINTS data across racial/ethnic groups in the US

Ethn Health. 2022 Jul;27(5):1166-1177. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2020.1850648. Epub 2020 Dec 12.


Background and purpose: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is recognized as a leading cause of multiple types of cancer. The current study examined HPV knowledge level and its associated factors, especially its relationship with HPV vaccine awareness, across race/ethnicity, including non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic African American, and Hispanic.

Methods: Cross-sectional data were merged from Cycles 1 (2017) and Cycle 2 (2018) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Health Information National Trends Survey 5 (HINTS5, total N = 3648), which was collected in the United States. A multiple linear regression was performed across the three race/ethnicity groups to determine potential associated factors with level of HPV knowledge.

Findings: Overall HPV knowledge level among participants was low (Mean = 1.68; SD = 1.44; range 0-4). Among three racial/ethnic groups, non-Hispanic African American had the lowest level of HPV knowledge (Mean = 1.51). Less than 30% answered correctly to each of the three items assessing knowledge of HPV-associated (HPVa) cancers other than cervical (e.g. if HPV can cause penile, anal, and/or oral cancer). The HPV vaccine awareness was significantly associated with HPV knowledge across all three racial/ethnic groups.

Conclusions and implications: The lowest level of HPV knowledge among non-Hispanic African American suggests that HPV education is urgently needed for this population. Specific interventions should emphasize information regarding HPVa cancers other than cervical cancer. Additionally, promoting awareness of the HPV vaccine will help to improve HPV knowledge among general population. Lastly, various factors associated with HPV knowledge across different racial/ethnic groups need to be addressed when implementing HPV education programs.

Keywords: HPV; Human papillomavirus; awareness; cervical cancer; knowledge; race/ethnicity; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alphapapillomavirus*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Papillomaviridae
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • United States
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms*


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines