Education of Parents Will Play a Role in the Acceptance of HPV Vaccine

May 16, 2005

A vaccine for the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) will likely be available within two to four years and will probably be targeted to preadolescent children. Given the need for the consent of parents to administer the vaccine in that population, parents will play a key role in how widely accepted the vaccine is.

A vaccine for the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) will likely be available within two to four years and will probably be targeted to preadolescent children. Given the need for the consent of parents to administer the vaccine in that population, parents will play a key role in how widely accepted the vaccine is.

A study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2005 Annual Meeting showed that parents would tend to make a choice about this issue based on attitudes and life experiences. The study found that education via HPV information sheets "[improved] parental knowledge about HPV but did not result in a significant difference in parental HPV vaccine acceptability."

The study was a randomized controlled trial of written educational materials about HPV as a means of improving parental knowledge. A cross-sectional survey was sent to 1,600 parents of 8- to 12-year-old children. Half of the parents received a basic paragraph about HPV with the survey, while the other half received the basic paragraph and a two-page HPV information sheet.

Presenter Amanda F. Dempsey, MD, a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, said that it would be helpful if physicians educated parents on the prevalence of the virus. Approximately 80% of adults in the United States have been exposed to HPV, which can cause cervical cancer and genital warts. (Poster Session 4981)