Date of Award

May 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Diane M. Reddy

Committee Members

Raymond Fleming, Susan Lima


Health Care Utilization, HPV, Perceived Risk, Sexual Activity, Vaccination


The relationship between sexual activity, sexual health care utilization, and perceived risk for HPV-related outcomes was examined in sample of college women, to explore recent concerns that HPV vaccination may be related to an increase in risky sexual behaviors. Vaccinated and not vaccinated women completed an anonymous, online survey including age of vaccination, age at each sexual partner, condom use, use and intentions to use sexual health care services, and perceptions of risk. Vaccinated women also reported perceptions of change because of vaccination. Women were matched on age, race, and poverty status. Number of partners since vaccination was calculated among the vaccinated women as partners at or after age of vaccination. Number of partners since vaccination for not vaccinated women was calculated using the age of vaccination of the matched pair, to allow comparison across equivalent time intervals. Number of vaginal, oral received, and anal partners were not different for vaccinated and not vaccinated women. Although, after vaccination, women who received the vaccine reported performing oral sex on a larger number of partners than not vaccinated women, the number of vaginal, oral, and anal sex partners for which a condom was not used was not different for vaccinated and not vaccinated women. Therefore, the number of partners from which STI infection was likely was similar for all women. Although use of sexual health care services since vaccination was not different for vaccinated and not vaccinated women, not vaccinated women reported higher intentions to receive a pelvic exam in the next year and a Pap smear in the next three years than vaccinated women. Intentions to receive an STI test in the next year were not different, however. Perceptions of risk for HPV-related outcomes were also not different for vaccinated and not vaccinated women. Among vaccinated women, the majority reported they had not changed their sexual activity, condom use, or use of health care services because of the vaccine. This study indicates that HPV vaccination is not related to greater risky sexual activity but that efforts to increase intentions to use sexual health care services among vaccinated women should be addressed.

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