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Vaccines (Basel)


HPV vaccination is most effective if received before initiation of sexual activity. Previous studies suggested that young adult women who were not sexually active were not interested in receiving the vaccine because they did not think it was necessary. Whether this misperception is still prevalent today-and also shared by men-is unknown. This study examined whether sexual activity was associated with HPV vaccine uptake (initiation and completion) among university students. A cross-sectional study was conducted between February and May 2021 among students (n = 951) at a public Midwestern University. Sexual activity was categorized as "never" or "ever" had oral and/or vaginal sex. Outcome variables were HPV vaccine initiation, defined as receipt of ≥1 dose, and completion, defined as receipt of ≥3 doses. Multivariable logistic regression models estimated the association between sexual activity and HPV vaccine uptake, adjusting for sociodemographic factors. Approximately 18% of students reported never engaging in sexual activity. Overall, 45.5% initiated the HPV vaccine, and 16.5% completed the vaccine series. After adjusting for covariates, compared to students that reported never engaging in sexual activity, those that had ever engaged in sexual activity were more likely to have initiated the vaccine series (aOR = 2.06, 95% CI: 1.34-3.17); however, no difference was observed for completion. HPV vaccination was low; sexually naïve students were less likely to initiate the HPV vaccine. Since sexually naïve students may benefit from receiving the HPV vaccination, targeted interventions should be implemented towards this population to help increase vaccination rates and prevent HPV-associated diseases.

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