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Ever heard of HPV

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults age 18 to 64 years, HPVHEAR indicates whether respondents have ever heard of the human papillomavirus (HPV).

The Field Representative's Manuals for 2008 and 2009 provide the following information about HPV:

The Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a member of a family of viruses that can cause abnormal tissue growth (for example, genital warts) and other changes to cells. Infection with certain types of HPV increases the risk of developing cervical cancer. A vaccine is available to prevent the HPV infection and is called the cervical cancer vaccine, HPV shot, or Gardasil.™"

The 2010 and 2015Field Representative's Manual makes a similar statement, but mentioned in 2010 the vaccine Cervarix in addition to Gardasil.

Cervarix is the newest vaccine, which also prevents genital warts. [Cervarix and Gardasil] are now approved for use with men.

This information was not routinely shared with respondents.

Other HPV knowledge questions 

For 2008, adults who acknowledged having heard of HPV (i.e., with an affirmative response in HPVHEAR) were asked the following questions designed to test general knowledge of the virus, with the assurance "Your best guess is fine":

  • Believes HPV causes cervical cancer (HPVCANCER)
  • Believes HPV spread through sexual contact (HPVSEX)
  • Believes HPV goes away without treatment (HPVGOES)

Finally, female adults were asked, "Have you ever been told by a doctor or other health professional that you had HPV?" (HPVHADEV).

HPV Vaccine Variables 

In 2006, a vaccine became available that protects against the most common types of HPV that cause cervical cancer and genital warts. According to the CDC website on HPV, "The HPV vaccine is routinely recommended for 11 and 12 year-old girls. The vaccine series can be started at 9 years of age. Catch-up vaccination is recommended for 13 through 26 year-old females who have not yet received the vaccine series." The vaccine is administered in 3 intra-muscular injections given over 6 months.

A series of questions designed to capture information, attitudes, and knowledge about the HPV vaccine were included in the 2008 NHIS for adults and female children, in the 2009 NHIS for adults only, and in the 2010 NHIS for adults and children as follows:

  • Number of HPV shots received (HPVACNO)

  • Main reason would not receive HPV vaccine (HPVACNOWHY)

  • Would get HPV vaccine if cost 350 to 500 dollars (HPVACGET500)
  • Would SC get HPV vaccine if it were free/at a lower cost (HPVACGETFRE)


HPVHEAR is completely comparable over time.


  • 2008-2012, 2015: Sample adults age 18-64.


  • 2008-2012, 2015