The Connection Between Social Determinants of Health and Human Papillomavirus Testing Knowledge Among Women in the USA

Ashvita Garg, Annalynn M. Galvin, Sarah Matthes, Sarah B. Maness, Erika L. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes 99% of cervical cancers. In the USA, HPV testing has recently been recommended as a stand-alone option for cervical cancer screening in women over 30 years of age. Yet, studies have shown low awareness of HPV testing. This study examines awareness and knowledge that US women possess regarding HPV testing using the social determinants of health (SDOH) framework. Women aged 30 to 65 years, without hysterectomy, completed an online survey (N = 812). The outcome variables included HPV testing awareness and HPV testing knowledge, a six-item validated scale. Predictor variables included three domains of the Healthy People 2020 SDOH framework: economic stability, education, and health and healthcare. Other important sociodemographic predictors were also included. Multiple logistic and linear regression identified variables associated with HPV testing awareness and knowledge, respectively. 62.4% of the women were aware of HPV testing, and the mean knowledge score was 2.8 (out of 6). Lower awareness and knowledge were observed in older women compared with younger women and among women who had either not received HPV vaccination or were unsure of their vaccination status. Higher education attainment was associated with greater awareness and knowledge. Also, women who had a well-woman visit in the last year had better knowledge. Findings from the study can be used to develop targeted prevention strategies and initiatives to improve HPV testing awareness and knowledge to help women make more informed health decisions and promote uptake of this screening tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-154
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Awareness
  • Cervical cancer
  • HPV testing
  • Knowledge
  • Social determinants of health
  • Women


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