Reducing HPV-Attributable Cancers through HPV Vaccination - an Interactive Technology-Based Approach for Adolescents in School Based Health Centers

In partnership with the Center for Rural Health Innovation and NC MARCH -- a network primarily of School-Based Health Centers (SBHC), researchers developed this pilot study to (1) determine sexual risk behaviors and knowledge of HPV disease in males and vaccine availability for males among youth in 2 rural middle schools in a Western North Carolina county, and (2) develop messages for a SCBH telemedicine program using texting for increasing knowledge of HPV disease and vaccination among this population.  Among adolescent vaccines, HPV4 is licensed for the prevention of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancer.

Findings: Investigators conducted focus groups and pre/post surveys (N=43) with middle school students, and conducted key informant interviews (n=7) with staff and parents of focus group members. The post survey (39 of 43 students, 12 males) revealed: (1) students significantly increased knowledge of HPV and HPV vaccine from pre to post survey, (2) students' interest in receiving additional information about the HPV vaccine increased, and (3) students' perceptions of their susceptibility to HPV increased. Unfortunately, students' comfort in getting vaccine at school-based health center did not increase. Young adolescents are most receptive to receiving text messages about HPV and the HPV vaccine if they are familiar with the source  (e.g., family doctor or a trusted, educated young adult) and the messages are not threatening or demanding.

Geographic Area(s): 2 rural counties in NC

Research Team: Tamera Coyne-Beasley, MD, MPH, professor of pediatrics and internal medicine (co-principal investigator); Steve North, MD, MPH, clinical assistant professor of family medicine, founder & president, Center for Rural Health Innovation (co-principal investigator); Joan Cates, PhD, MPH, lecturer in school of journalism and mass communication; off-site collaborators Amanda Martin, Executive Director, Center for Rural Health Innovations, and Eloise Ledford, FNP; and Jackie MacHardy, project manager.

For more information about this pilot research study, contact Tamera Coyne-Beasley at tamera_coyne-beasley@med.unc.edu.