Influence of Religious Beliefs on Attitudes Towards HPV Vaccination Among College Students
A hallmark example of vaccine hesitancy due to religious beliefs is the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Approximately 79 million Americans, both men and women, are currently infected with HPV, a DNA virus from the Papillomaviridae family. HPV is regarded as the most commonly spread sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States, with over 40 different prevalent types. While the HPV vaccine has been proven to significantly reduce rates of HPV-related cancers, HPV vaccination rates remain below target. Christian church affiliation and religious commitment have been suggested as strong indicators of whether or not a parent will vaccinate their child against HPV. However, it is unclear whether Christian affiliation versus familial, cultural or religious values most directly influence the decision to vaccinate a child against HPV. To address this idea, we conducted a survey of predominantly religiously affiliated undergraduate students at Baylor University to characterize their views on HPV vaccination. This thesis explores the complex interaction between students’ views on sexual activity and their likelihood to vaccinate future children. The results of this survey have important implications for planning promotion of the HPV vaccine among religious people.