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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2010 Feb;148(2):186-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2009.10.024. Epub 2009 Nov 18.

Eligibility and willingness of first-year students entering university to participate in a HPV vaccination catch-up program.

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  • 1Inter-university Service of Preventive Medicine and Promotion of Health (SIMPPS), University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France.



In France, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is routinely recommended for 14-year-old girls; a catch-up vaccination should be offered to girls and women 15-23 years of age before the first time they have sex or within the first year after sexual activity begins. The aim of the present study was to examine the eligibility and willingness of first-year college students of Toulouse University (France) to participate in a HPV vaccination catch-up program, and to estimate their knowledge of HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening.


The study was conducted from January to April 2008 simultaneously at the three university medical centres (Science, Literature-Psychology, Law-Social Sciences). Female students entering the University were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire at the time of their preventive medical visit. The questionnaire included questions on demographics, knowledge about HPV vaccination, sexual behaviour, and willingness to participate in the French vaccination program.


In total, 606 women from the 3 colleges were included. The response rate of the questionnaire was 93.1%. The median age of participants was 19 and 8.3% of them had already been vaccinated. Of the respondents, 67.2% were sexually experienced and 25.3% of sexually experienced students had their first intercourse less than 1 year prior. Knowledge of HPV infections, associated diseases, and prevention was limited, a finding that indicates the need to pursue educational campaigns. Among respondents, 42.7% were eligible for catch-up vaccination, and 64.1% of them were willing to be vaccinated. We did not observe significant differences among the three colleges.


First-year college preventive consultation is an opportunity to vaccinate near 43% of women according to French recommendations. Improved education about HPV-related diseases and their prevention is needed.

2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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