Young Adults' Human Papillomavirus–Related Knowledge: Source of Medical Information Matters

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Objectives: Few studies examine the influence that different sources of medical information has on human papillomavirus (HPV)–related knowledge. We examined the relationship between the primary source of medical information and knowledge about HPV in young adults aged 18–26 years. Study design: This study used cross-sectional data from the Health Information National Trends Survey. Methods: Respondents (n = 404) self-reported their knowledge about HPV-related diseases and vaccinations and their sources of medical information. Sources of medical information included electronic/print media, family/friends, or a healthcare provider. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to examine the association between the source of information and HPV knowledge. Results: Fifty-six percent of respondents used electronic or print media as their primary source of medical information. A greater proportion of Hispanic (40.0%) and black (36.0%) respondents received medical information from their family/friends than white respondents (20.0%). Respondents who received medical information from family/friends had 4.34 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.14, 8.79), 4.06 (95% CI: 2.05, 8.04), and 2.35 (95% CI: 1.10, 5.04) times higher odds than those who received information from healthcare providers of not knowing that HPV causes cervical cancer, knowing HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, and hearing about the HPV vaccine, respectively. Conclusion: Source of medical information was significantly associated with knowledge of HPV. Receiving medical information from family/friends negatively influenced young adults' HPV knowledge. These findings may guide future interventions to target peer and familial influence on medical decisions.