Monogamy as a Barrier to Human Papillomavirus Catch-Up Vaccination

Ansley V. Waters, Laura K. Merrell, Erika L. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States. Although a vaccine to prevent HPV infection exists, only 53.7% of females 13-17 years of age were up-to-date on the HPV vaccination series in 2018. There is a catch-up period of vaccination for females 18-26 years of age that shows consistent underparticipation. A potential barrier to vaccination is relationship status, as long-term relationships may negatively impact HPV risk perception. This study examined monogamy as a risk factor for nonvaccination and explored how risk perception may influence this association. Materials and Methods: An electronic survey was distributed to females 18-26 years of age who attended a large public university in the mid-Atlantic region (n = 629). Multivariable and descriptive statistics were estimated using SAS 9.4 to explore the likelihood of vaccination during the catch-up period by relationship status. Results: Most participants had received the HPV vaccine, a small proportion of whom received it during the catch-up period. After adjusting for confounders, women who were in monogamous relationships were significantly less likely to have participated in HPV catch-up vaccination compared to women who were single and dating (adjusted odds ratio: 0.36, 95% confidence interval: 0.15, 0.87). Women in monogamous relationships had a lower average sexually transmitted disease (STD) risk perception compared to women who were single and dating (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: A decreased risk perception may present a barrier to participating in catch-up vaccination for monogamous women. Practitioners and the public health community should focus on communicating HPV risk to women in monogamous relationships, especially given the recently expanded age range for HPV vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-712
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Volume30
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • college women
  • human papillomavirus
  • relationship status
  • vaccination barrier

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