Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S. HPV is known to cause many types of cancers such as cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal cancers. A preventative measure, the HPV vaccine, is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for both boys and girls. Since past prevention efforts primarily focused on female vaccination it is uncertain if males are aware of HPV, its effects and preventative measures. The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge level of HPV, perceived risk of HPV and intent to obtain HPV vaccination among male university students. Participants (n=361) completed a 31-item electronic survey administered by email. Responses to knowledge-based questions indicted relatively low levels of knowledge about HPV and HPV vaccinations. Fifty percent knew that HPV was the most common STI, over half (52%) knew of the HPV association with multiple cancers, only 39% could correctly identify the virus and two-thirds of participants were unable to identify the virus strains controlled by vaccination. A significant portion of participants either agreed (54%) or strongly agreed (19%) that they were at a high risk for HPV. Most participants either agreed (49%) or strongly agreed (39%) that unprotected sexual activity put them at risk but nearly half (46%) were unaware that HPV vaccinations were available for males. Despite risk acknowledgment and over 50% vaccine awareness, 86% were not vaccinated and 65% of these participants did not plan to become vaccinated. In addition, of the 86% who were not vaccinated, 45% did not perceive themselves at risk and 47% were not aware that a vaccination existed. Only 9% were fully vaccinated against HPV with 6% reporting they had received partial vaccination. Results indicate, though male students understand the scope of HPV infection and many perceive themselves to be in a high risk group, few of them are, or intend to be, vaccinated. This is a significant issue for public health promotion. Prevention efforts should focus on promoting HPV vaccinations and increasing awareness of the long term health effects associated with HPV to the male population and parents of underage males.


Dawn Larsen

Committee Member

Judith Luebke

Committee Member

Amy Hedman

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Health Science


Allied Health and Nursing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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