Take 5-Bridging the Information Gap: An HPV Education Project

May 19, 2011

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with approximately 20 million people currently infected and an additional 6.2 million infected each year, despite increased media attention to HPV as a cause of cervical cancer and the availability of a vaccination to reduce HPV-associated cervical cancer.

provides quick, reader-friendly snapshots of interesting people, news, and current research related to cancer and its management. These 5-point profiles take only about 5 minutes to read and often feature audio or video.

Oncology Nursing Society 36th Annual Congress

Poster/ abstract 1052135-Bridging the Information Gap: An HPV Education Project

Dionne Walker, BSN, RN; Linda Bracks-Madison, MSN, RN; Judith Payne, PhD, RN, AOCN

At the time that the HPV education project was developed, Ms. Walker was Clinical Care Coordinator for the Cord Blood Bank Program, Ms. Bracks-Madison was (and still is) working in the Division of Internal Medicine, and Dr. Payne was Associate Director of Nursing Research at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. Dr. Payne is currently Associate Director, Nursing Research, Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, NC.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with approximately 20 million people currently infected and an additional 6.2 million infected each year, despite increased media attention to HPV as a cause of cervical cancer and the availability of a vaccination to reduce HPV-associated cervical cancer.

Nurses are in a key position to participate in a community-based education project that will help sexually active women at risk for HPV to reduce their lifestyle risk factors for HPV, make informed health decisions regarding screening and, if needed, receive treatment for HPV infection.

The investigators evaluated the medical literature, searching the databases EBSCOHost and CINAHL Plus, using the following key words: “human papillomavirus (HPV),” “HPV-cancer,” “HPV-counseling,” “HPV-education,” and womens’ knowledge HPV,” retrieving 40 articles.

• They uncovered a lack of simple, easy-to-understand information about HPV that healthcare providers can use to inform patients about risks and how to protect themselves, and management of cervical infections with HPV.

• Based on their findings, a nurse-led community-based education project will be developed in community centers, with educational training across nursing specialties, to teach women about HPV risk factors, genotype testing, and recommended screening and treatment modalities. Information about the psychosocial aspects of HPV infection (eg, the stigma associated with sexually transmitted disease, particularly among older women, and the finding that older physicians may be inconsistent in communicating to patients about HPV risk) will inform the healthcare provider approach to patient communication.

• Efficacy of the community-based project in increasing public awareness about HPV-related cervical cancers will be assessed via surveys conducted before and after the educational intervention.

An ideal time for nurses to initiate individual patient assessments and provide education about the risk of HPV transmission and ways that women can prevent HPV infection is during wellness visits/checkups, though patient education for this project will occur at other times also.