, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1015-1021
Date: 12 Jul 2013

HPV and HPV Vaccines: The Knowledge Levels, Opinions, and Behavior of Parents

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Abstract

To measure parent knowledge levels and opinions related to the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the two vaccines used to prevent it. To measure parent behavior in terms of whether or not to have their children vaccinated. Between June 19, 2012, and August 24, 2012, questionnaires were distributed to parents while waiting for their child to see their pediatrician at a local group practice. The survey was reviewed for face validity by College of Pharmacy social science and clinical faculty members, and an earlier version of it had been used successfully in a published study of biomedical students’ knowledge of and attitudes toward the HPV vaccine. 129 usable surveys were obtained. 48.1 % of subjects said they learned about the HPV vaccines from the media, while 47.3 % identified health care practitioner(s) as a source of knowledge. The mean score on a 20-item knowledge test regarding the infection and vaccines was 36 % (range 0–80 %). Opinions on the subject varied widely. For example, 22.4 % of subjects agreed that schools should require that students be vaccinated before enrolling, while 3.2 % agreed that vaccination causes patients to become sexually active. Subjects reported vaccination status for 253 children (mean age 13) as follows: 33 % vaccinated; 28 % not vaccinated but will be; 11 % will never be vaccinated; and 28 % not decided. These results are somewhat encouraging, because many parents are hearing about the vaccines from their providers. Although not an equally valid source, the media are also raising awareness. Based on the knowledge and opinion results of this study, there is a need for pharmacists and other providers to educate their patients about the vaccines and the virus and to converse with them regarding the moral and psychological implications of vaccination. Still, it is encouraging that these subjects had or plan to have over half (61 %) of their children vaccinated.