Exploring the Human Papillomavirus in Female College Students
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is not only the most common but also the most prevalent Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) in the United States. To date, 20 million people are infected with HPV. The female population has the highest rate of infection, and it is estimated that close to 80% of sexually active women will contract HPV by age 50. Of all HPV infections, 74% occur in persons age 17-24 (Markowitz, Dunne, & Saraiya as cited in Hutchinson & Klein, 2008). The goal of the research study was to use explorative methods including a focus group and questionnaire to better understand and examine what kind of knowledge deficits exist related to the transmission of HPV and what type of views and values may be factors in the continued transmission of HPV. On a small liberal arts campus in the Northwestern United States, a questionnaire was administered to 39 female sophomore nursing students, while a focus group took place with 10 female students of various ages and different majors. Results supported the idea that a large knowledge deficit exists among female students in terms of their overall knowledge base of HPV. Additionally, the young women who participated in this study felt as if HPV related resources are limited and the information regarding HPV is not clearly defined and varies from source to source.