Intersection of HPV and Sexual Assault: An Opportunity for Practice Change

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BackgroundAn opportunity exists for nurses to integrate HPV education and prevention strategies into the care for adolescent and young adult sexual assault patients.Study designAn exploratory, cross-sectional, E-mail survey was conducted to explore forensic nurses’ (1) level of support and (2) facilitators and barriers that may influence nurses’ level of support regarding incorporating HPV preventative strategies into their care. Eligibility for inclusion was nurse members of the International Association of Forensic Nurses who are stakeholders in the care of sexual assault patients.Results541 nurses completed the survey. 98% were supportive of at least providing patients with written educational information regarding HPV and the HPV vaccine; 86% were supportive of providing written information plus making changes to the discharge instructions to incorporate HPV vaccination recommendations; and 53% were supportive of providing written information, making changes to the discharge instructions, and initiating HPV vaccination at the point of care. The strongest predictor of level of support was having positive perceived benefits for HPV vaccination. A one standard deviation increase in perceived benefit was associated with a 50% increased odds of having the highest level of support (OR = 1.5, CI [1.1, 1.9]).ConclusionsNurses provide care for many adolescent and young adult sexual assault patients who are at risk for acquiring HPV and are within the age range for HPV vaccination. There is an opportunity to update current practice guidelines and recommendations. The nurses in this national sample were overwhelmingly supportive of integrating HPV prevention strategies into care.

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