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HPV vaccine acceptance and other health behaviors among college-age women

Jaclyn L. F. Bosco, Jennifer D. Allen.

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Background: College-age women have a high risk of contracting human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, but HPV vaccine uptake is suboptimal. Effective interventions require a better understanding of health behaviors associated with vaccine acceptance. We examined the relation between HPV vaccination and health-oriented and risk behaviors.
Methods: Female students from a private university (N=1,401) reported health-oriented (physical activity, fruit/vegetable consumption, influenza, Hepatitis B and HPV vaccination, cancer screening [Pap test, clinical breast exam]) and risky (drinking, smoking, multiple sexual partners) behaviors in a web-based survey conducted in spring 2007.
Results: In a cross-sectional analysis, we observed that women who were up-to-date with cervical cancer screening (OR=2.4; 95%CI=1.3, 4.3) and reported binge drinking within the prior month (OR=2.1; 95% CI=1.3, 3.2) were significantly more likely to have been vaccinated.
Conclusions: Both healthy and risky behaviors are associated with vaccination; therefore, providers should take advantage of clinical interactions for a range of behaviors (including binge drinking) to improve vaccination rates among college-age women.

Key words: Human papillomavirus vaccine; cervical cancer; health behaviors

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