Barriers to prevention: Knowledge of HPV, cervical cancer, and HPV vaccinations among African American women

Anna E. Strohl, Gricelda Mendoza, Marissa S. Ghant, Kenzie A. Cameron, Melissa A. Simon, Julian C. Schink, Erica E. Marsh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Objective The purpose of this study was to assess knowledge of the human papillomavirus (HPV), cervical cancer, and HPV vaccination in African American women (AAW).

Study Design This study was a quantitative cross-sectional survey of English-speaking, AAW, 18-70 years old who were recruited from a community fair in Chicago, IL. Surveys were distributed to a convenience sample to assess knowledge of HPV, cervical cancer, and the HPV vaccine. Cumulative knowledge scores were calculated for each participant, and analysis was performed to identify factors that were associated with adequate knowledge scores.

Results Three hundred twenty-two surveys were distributed; 242 surveys were collected, and 215 surveys met inclusion criteria. Mean knowledge score was 12.3 ± 4.2 (mean ± SD) of a maximum score of 28 (range, 3-23); 73% of participants scored <65% on the knowledge portion of the survey. Education level (P =.007), household income (P =.010), and having a child who had been offered the HPV vaccine (P =.041) were associated with adequate (≥65% accuracy) knowledge scores.

Conclusion Knowledge of HPV, cervical cancer, and HPV vaccination was low in this urban African American adult female population. Targeted educational health programs are needed to increase awareness among these women who have the highest rate of cervical cancer mortality in the United States. Such patient educational programs must be developed by physicians and should address the cultural and literacy needs of this particular group of women. In addition, AAW exert influence on the health of their communities and are integral in health-related decision-making; thus, educating them through their health care providers will have far ranging impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65.e1-65.e5
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • barrier cervical cancer
  • human papillomavirus
  • knowledge
  • vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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