¡Habla de VPH! An Educational Activity for College Students in Puerto Rico

Vivian Colón-López, Alelí Ayala-Marín, Camille Vélez-Alamo, Marievelisse Soto-Salgado, Lizbeth Medina-Cortés, Adrianna I. Acevedo-Fontanez, Ana P. Ortiz, Natalie Fernández-Espada, Marta Sánchez-Aracil, Omayra Salgado-Cruz


Objective: To evaluate human papillomavirus (HPV) infection knowledge, willingness to get vaccinated, and vaccination uptake, following a brief educational activity entitled ¡Habla de VPH! (Let’s talk about HPV!) in a sample of college students at the University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón. Methods: Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire developed by the research team, which gathered information regarding sociodemographic characteristics, HPV vaccination status, and willingness to receive the vaccine. Once the participant completed the survey, the staff of the Outreach Program conducted an educational activity. Study participants completed a pre- and post-test, which included a scale with items related to knowledge about HPV infection, associated malignancies, and the vaccine. To compute the mean knowledge score for each test, the correct responses were summed; the total scores for each test ranged from 0 to 11. Follow-up interviews (3 and 6 months) explored knowledge changes and—in the previously unvaccinated students—vaccine uptake. Results: A total of forty students answered the questionnaire. A significant difference between the average knowledge before (7.6 ± 2.1) and after the intervention (10.6 ±0.6) (P < .001) was observed. Of the non-vaccinated group, 59.3% reported being interested in receiving the vaccine. By the 3- and 6-month follow-ups, only 2 students had started the vaccine series. Conclusion: Knowledge about HPV and associated malignancies increased significantly. However, few students initiated the vaccine after either of the followups. Future efforts should line up the vaccine promotion and outreach activities with immunization services, making the vaccine available in the communities to be impacted.


HPV; HPV vaccine; college students

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