Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The objective of the present study is to ascertain overall knowledge, attitude and awareness of students at select North Carolina Universities about HPV, the HPV vaccine Gardasil and the connection between HPV and various cancers. Five hundred and two university students (NCAT, NCCU, ECU and UNCG), 303 females and 199 males, ages 18 or older (89.6% were between the ages of 18-22) participated in a cross-sectional study by completing a survey. Students at these universities were randomly selected based on their enrollment in introductory biology courses for non majors. Other students were chosen randomly by face to face contact in heavily populated areas on the campuses, such as the cafeterias, computer labs, libraries, and Student Unions. The survey participants were asked questions about their gender, ethnicity, age, classification, hometown, major, sources from which they receive information on sexually transmitted diseases, sexual activity, sexual partners and date of last physical examination. Participants were then asked a series of knowledge and awareness questions about the human papillomavirus. Questions followed to ascertain if participants had been diagnosed with HPV, their awareness of the HPV vaccine Gardasil, and whether or not participants had been vaccinated with the Gardasil vaccine. A knowledge scale from 0-18 was designed to look at the overall knowledge of college students. The mean knowledge score was 8.79. About 65% of the students scored a nine or less. More than half of the students answered 50% of the questions incorrectly showing poor knowledge of HPV. Close to 75% of the population scored a 14 or less representing an unsatisfactorily level of knowledge. The population was divided into thirds by either wanting to be vaccinated, not being interested in receiving the vaccine, or having been vaccinated with the Gardasil Vaccine. The majority of the students who had not been vaccinated with Gardasil reported that it was due to a lack of information on the vaccine and the disease. More emphasis should go towards the development of educational materials that educate young adults on the benefits of the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

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