Indiana State University Newsroom

Effects of HPV to be discussed at State April 26

April 19, 2017

Indiana State University will host a public showing of the documentary, "Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic," at 5:30 p.m. April 26 at Cunningham Memorial Library events area.

The event, "ISU: Let's Talk About HPV," is sponsored by Indiana State's department of applied health sciences and Student Health Promotion and will include a screening of the documentary, which shares stories and experiences of five women whose lives have been dramatically changed by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

It is part of an ongoing effort to educate the campus and community about HPV following a campus-wide survey conducted by assistant professors of applied health sciences Whitney Blondeau and Olabode Ayodele last fall to gauge the HPV knowledge of nearly 1,300 respondents at Indiana State.

The survey's preliminary findings revealed a stark contrast between the number of respondents who felt they were well-educated on the topic and their actual responses. Blondeau hopes the documentary sparks a conversation that helps educate people about HPV, discuss its link to cervical and HPV-associated oropharyngeal (throat, tongue or tonsils) cancers and dismantle myths around the virus.

"The survey showed that people think they know about HPV, but their answers to the knowledge-based questions showed otherwise. We felt this documentary screening was an important step in making information about HPV accessible to the ISU and Terre Haute communities," Blondeau said.

Each year, there are approximately 39,000 cancer cases resulting from HPV, including cervical and throat cancers. Ninety percent of the HPV-associated cancers are cervical cancer and 70 percent of HPV-associated cancers are oropharyngeal (throat, tongue, or tonsils). By 2020, the prevalence of oropharyngeal HPV-associated cancer is expected to exceed that of cervical cancer.

"Through this documentary screening and panel discussion, we hope to highlight the magnitude of HPV-associated cancers, including - and beyond - cervical cancer and sexual behavior," Blondeau said. "This documentary and our stories will hopefully help others to understand HPV in a very personal and poignant way."

This will also be an opportunity for people to hear from Brenda Forbes, the mother of Kristen Forbes, a college-age woman whose life story is featured in the documentary.

Following the documentary, Forbes, Blondeau and Indiana State senior health science major and honors student Samantha Douthitt will conduct a question and answer panel discussion about HPV and associated cancer diagnoses linked to the virus. There also will be a resource table and counselor from the ISU Student Health Promotion office available for attendees.


Contact: Whitney Blondeau, assistant professor of applied health sciences, Indiana State University,

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or