Investigating media coverage and public perceptions of the HPV vaccine in China – a content analysis of Weibo posts

Junyi Hu, Thomas William Whyke, Joaquin Lopez-Mugica

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections worldwide. The HPV vaccination has been widely advocated around the world since the vaccine is beneficial in avoiding diseases, including some sexually transmitted diseases, brought on by HPV infections. For most Chinese, the HPV vaccine is still a relatively new concept, having only been made available to the general public in 2016. Despite the vaccine’s increased prominence, there is still a lack of investigation about how the public is influencing the conversation about HPV vaccines and the public’s perception of this vaccine. With the theoretical construct of the Health Belief Model, this study conducts both quantitative and qualitative content analysis to investigate the existing media narratives around HPV vaccines in China and the changes in public opinion by looking at users’ contributions on Weibo, one of China’s most popular social networking sites. It was found that different groups of Weibo users had contributed to diverse narratives surrounding HPV vaccination. Though the public awareness of HPV vaccination had been improved along with increasingly active communication practices and enhanced public health services, public knowledge about HPV remains inadequate. Therefore, to facilitate the popularisation of HPV related knowledge, more effort should be invested in tailoring and disseminating messages that communicate responsive and comprehensive HPV related information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-388
Number of pages26
JournalSexuality and Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • China
  • Content Analysis
  • Health Belief Model
  • Human Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Sexual Health
  • Social Media
  • Vaccination Awareness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigating media coverage and public perceptions of the HPV vaccine in China – a content analysis of Weibo posts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this