Human papillomavirus vaccine-related risk perceptions and subsequent sexual behaviors and sexually transmitted infections among vaccinated adolescent women

Tanya L.Kowalczyk Mullins, Gregory D. Zimet, Susan L. Rosenthal, Charlene Morrow, Lili Ding, Bin Huang, Jessica A. Kahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Objective To examine the association between risk perceptions after human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and sexual behaviors and sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis over 30 months following vaccination. Methods Participants included 112 sexually experienced girls aged 13–21 years who were enrolled at the time of first HPV vaccination and completed ⩾2 of 4 follow-up visits at 2, 6, 18, 30 months and including 30 months. At each visit, participants completed surveys assessing risk perceptions (perceived need for safer sexual behaviors, perceived risk of STIs other than HPV) and sexual behaviors. STI testing was done at 6, 18, and 30 months. Outcomes were condom use at last intercourse with main male partner, number of sexual partners since last study visit, and STI diagnosis. Associations between risk perceptions and sexual behaviors/STIs were examined using generalized linear mixed models. Results Mean age was 17.9 years; 88% were Black; 49% had a history of STI at baseline. Scale scores for perceived need for safer sexual behaviors did not change significantly over time. Scale scores for perceived risk of STIs other than HPV significantly changed (p = 0.027), indicating that girls perceived themselves to be more at risk of STIs other than HPV over 30 months following vaccination. Multivariable models demonstrated that greater perceived need for safer sexual behaviors following vaccination was associated with condom use (p = 0.002) but not with number of partners or STI diagnosis. Perceived risk of STIs other than HPV was not associated with the three outcomes. Conclusions The finding that perceived risk for STIs other than HPV was not associated with subsequent sexual behaviors or STI diagnosis is reassuring. The association between perceived need for safer sexual behaviors and subsequent condom use suggests that the HPV vaccination visit is an important opportunity to reiterate the importance of safer sexual behaviors to sexually experienced girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4040-4045
Number of pages6
Issue number34
StatePublished - Jul 25 2016



  • Adolescent
  • Longitudinal study
  • Papillomavirus vaccines
  • Sexual behavior
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Survey study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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