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J Sex Res. 2013;50(1):95-102. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2011.642904. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Influence of oral sex and oral cancer information on young adults' oral sexual-risk cognitions and likelihood of HPV vaccination.

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Department of Psychology, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA.


Public health information and educational interventions regarding human papillomavirus (HPV) have focused on the link between vaginal sex and cervical cancer among women. Many people are unaware that HPV can be transmitted through oral sex or that HPV causes oral cancers. Given that HPV infections and unprotected oral sex are increasing, research on oral sex-related HPV risk is important. This study examined the effect of a brief informational intervention regarding HPV and oral sex on the sexual risk cognitions of young adults. College students (N = 238) read information on HPV, oral sex, and oral cancer or no information. Participants then completed measures of oral sex and HPV knowledge, oral sex willingness, HPV vaccination likelihood, and risk perceptions. Participants who read the information on HPV and oral sex and cancer (compared to those who did not) reported greater knowledge, perceived risk and concern, and lower willingness to engage in oral sex. These effects were only significant among women. However, men reported a higher likelihood of future HPV vaccination compared to women who had not yet received the vaccine. Focusing on oral sex and cancer, this study adds to research investigating ways to reduce HPV infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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