Selected African American Women’s Perceptions about the HPV Vaccine

Johnson C

Published on: 2020-05-17


Background: This study examined African American Women’s knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions about the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine, through two focus groups.

Methods: Seventeen African-American freshmen women were purposively recruited through two Center for Academic Success (CAS-100) classes at a public, four-year degree granting institution in the Southeastern region of the United States. The women were between the ages of 18 and 19. Focus group discussions ranged from 60 -90 minutes. All focus groups were audio-taped, transcribed, coded and themed. Following a brief presentation about cervical cancer and HPV, participants were questioned about their attitudes and perceptions about the HPV vaccine.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that unique educational strategies need to be developed, based on the needs and perceptions of the targeted audience, in order to achieve widespread acceptability of this vaccine. Considerable continued health promotion efforts are also needed to improve the knowledge about cancer and HPV in general, and particularly about cervical cancer, to reduce fear and to highlight the effectiveness of prevention and screening.