Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Awareness and knowledge of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection among high-risk men of Hispanic origin attending a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) clinic

Vivian Colón-López12*, Ana P Ortiz23, Lizbeth M Del Toro-Mejías3, Hermes García4, Michael C Clatts1 and Joel Palefsky5

Author affiliations

1 Department of Health Services Administration, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico, PO BOX 365067, San Juan, 00936-5067, Puerto Rico

2 Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program, Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Puerto Rico, 89 De Diego Ave. Suite 105m, San Juan, 00927-6346, Puerto Rico

3 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico, PO BOX 365067, San Juan, 00936-5067, Puerto Rico

4 Latin American Center for Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Puerto Rico Department of Health, San Juan, 00927, Puerto Rico

5 Department of Medicine, UCSF, San Francisco, CA, 94143-0126, San Francisco

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:346  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-346

Published: 12 December 2012



Genital Human papilloma virus (HPV) is one of the most commonly diagnosed Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs) in men and women. Knowledge about HPV infection among men is limited. This study aims to determine correlates of adequate knowledge of HPV infection among men who attend an STI clinic in Puerto Rico.


A cross-sectional study of 206 men was conducted at an STI clinic in San Juan, PR. Adequate knowledge was defined as a score of at least 70% of correct responses among those men who reported having ever heard of HPV. Variables that achieved statistical significance in the bivariate analysis (p<0.05) were included in the multivariate logistic regression model.


Although 52.5% of men reported having heard of HPV infection before the survey, only 29.3% of this sub-group had an adequate knowledge of HPV. Most men did not know that HPV is a risk factor for anal (38.7%), penile (50.0%) and oral (72.6%) cancer. Factors associated with adequate knowledge of HPV in age-adjusted models were being men who have sex with men (MSM) (OR=2.6;95%CI=1.1-6.1), self-report of genital warts (OR=3.2;95%CI=1.3-7.9) and herpes (OR=7.4;95% CI=2.2-25.1). MSM was marginally associated with adequate knowledge (OR=2.3;95% CI=0.9-5.9) and self-report of herpes remained significantly associated (OR=5.0;95%CI=1.3-18.4) in multivariate logistic regression analysis.


Awareness and knowledge of HPV was very low in this group of men. Interventions to increase knowledge and awareness in this group are necessary to promote preventive practices for HPV-related cancers in high-risk groups.

HPV; HPV knowledge; Men; Puerto Rico