Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 66–72 | Cite as

Racial Disparities in HPV-related Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs Among African American and White Women in the USA

  • Ashley OjeagaEmail author
  • Ernest Alema-Mensah
  • Desiree Rivers
  • Ijeoma Azonobi
  • Brian Rivers


The objective of this study was to assess the differences in HPV-related knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among African American and non-Hispanic white women and to determine their communication preferences for cancer-related information. Data was obtained from the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) 2014 Health Interview National Trends Survey (HINTS), a cross-sectional survey of US adults 18 years of age or older. Descriptive statistics, bivariate, and multivariate logistic regression were used to identify differences in awareness and knowledge. Data was collected in 2014 and analyzed in 2016. HPV awareness (71 vs. 77%) and knowledge that HPV causes cervical cancer (64 vs. 81%) were significantly lower among blacks. Additionally, there were significant disparities in awareness of the HPV vaccine (66 vs. 79%), with only 25% of Black women indicating that they or a family member was recommended the HPV vaccine by a health care professional. There were also differences in cancer communication preferences. Blacks were more likely than Whites to trust cancer information from family (OR 2.7, confidence interval [CI] 0.725–10.048), television (OR 3.0, 95% [CI] 0.733–12.296), government health agencies (OR 5.8, [CI] 0.639–52.818), and religious organizations (OR 6.4, 95% [CI] 1.718–23.932). Study results indicate that racial/ethnic differences exist in HPV knowledge/awareness and cancer communication preferences. These results highlight the need to increase HPV prevention and education efforts using methods that are tailored to Black women. To address HPV/cervical cancer disparities, future interventions should utilize preferred communication outlets to effectively increase HPV knowledge and vaccine awareness.


Cervical cancer prevention Health disparities Health education Human papillomavirus HPV 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

This study was supported by Award Number U54 CA118638 from the National Institutes of Health. The National Institutes of Health did not have any role in study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing the report; and the decision to submit the report for publication.

Financial Disclosure

No financial disclosures were reported by the authors of this paper.


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley Ojeaga
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ernest Alema-Mensah
    • 1
  • Desiree Rivers
    • 1
  • Ijeoma Azonobi
    • 1
  • Brian Rivers
    • 1
  1. 1.Morehouse School of MedicineAtlanta, GeorgiaAtlantaUSA

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