Jasmine Gite, Dr. Inaya Hajj Hussein, Dr. Bulaporn Natipagon-Shah
Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
INTRODUCTION Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can lead to oropharyngeal, anal, cervical, vaginal, and penile cancers. Compared to heterosexual population, some LGBTQIA+ subgroups are more susceptible to HPV infections due to their sexual practice. This study aimed to determine how knowledgeable Oakland University (OU) students are about HPV infection and vaccination, what attitude they have towards it, and how willing they are to take the vaccine, with a focus on gender and sexual orientation.
METHODS A cross-sectional survey questionnaire collecting data on various parameters with measurable indicators such as: general non-identifying information, knowledge of HPV vaccination, attitude towards HPV vaccination, and intent for receiving HPV vaccine was conducted. An information section regarding HPV and its vaccine was provided to assess change in knowledge of and attitude towards vaccination. Comparisons were analyzed with ANOVA and Chi-Square tests.
RESULTS 159 students completed the survey, with 131 students identifying as heterosexual and 28 students identifying as LGBTQIA+. On average, heterosexual respondents agreed less than LGBTQIA+ respondents that the current vaccine is capable of preventing cervical, penile, or anal cancer (P = 0.0091). Vaccinated respondents agreed more than unvaccinated respondents that all gynecologists and personal physicians should recommend the vaccine to patients whether or not they come from conservative families (P = 0.0002), and that they would recommend this vaccine for all their college friends (P = < 0.0001). Respondents were significantly more likely to undergo the HPV vaccine after taking the survey as compared to before taking the survey (P = 0.0016).
CONCLUSION Despite increasing social acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community, few studies have addressed HPV infection and vaccination awareness among sexual minorities. Our findings indicate the need to have additional educational campaigns to increase knowledge and awareness of HPV infection, thus influencing behavioral perceptions towards HPV vaccine uptake. The present study can serve the purpose of need assessment which can provide some pilot information to establish a health policy that mandates HPV vaccine to all, regardless of gender and sexual orientation to eradicate HPV.