Impact of HPV Immunization Training on Dental Hygiene Students’ Attitudes and Confidence Regarding HPV Preventive Education
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Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)-related oropharyngeal cancers (OPC) have increased significantly despite availability of the HPV vaccine. HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer is becoming more prevalent than tobacco-related OPC. Dental professionals screen for OPC and risk factors, but many are not prepared to address HPV immunization and prevention with patients. The aim of this study was to implement and assess a training module on HPV to increase dental providers' knowledge, promote confidence in their ability to provide effective prevention interventions, and instill a positive attitude about recommending HPV immunization to their patients. The study used a pretest-posttest design. Participants were dental hygiene students in one U.S. dental hygiene program in 2017. The students completed the pretest, then viewed the online training module, and completed the posttest one week later. Of the 40 students who participated in the module, 37 completed both pretest and posttest, for a response rate of 93%. From pretest to posttest, the respondents showed a significant increase (CI=0.5, p<0.001) in knowledge of HPV prevention with mean scores increasing from 8.75 to 13.32 on a 15-point scale. The students demonstrated an increase (p<0.05) in confidence and comfort in providing HPV immunization counseling on the posttest, as well as an increase (p<0.05) in positive attitudes about recommending HPV immunization. This study found that the participants' knowledge and confidence regarding HPV, HPV-related OPC, and HPV immunization increased after the module, suggesting that effective education and preparation for HPV counseling can be accomplished through modular-based education. This education would be beneficial in an institutional or professional setting.
author list (cited authors)
Cotter, J. C., Wilson, K. J., & Mallonee, L. F.