Assessment of the perceptions and administration of the human papillomavirus vaccine.

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OBJECTIVES: To investigate practitioner acceptability of the recommendation to offer the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to adolescent women.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: After obtaining institutional review board approval, 1,336 Connecticut-licensed pediatricians were contacted. A 16-question survey form was mailed, and responses received between January 20 and May 20, 2008, are reported.

RESULTS: Of the 434 returned survey forms, 89 were not completed because the physicians were currently retired or practicing as subspecialists. Among the 345 valid survey forms, most pediatricians described their understanding about HPV as "moderately knowledgeable" (53.3%) or "very knowledgeable" (37.4%). There was a significant correlation between physician knowledge about HPV and willingness to discuss sexually transmitted infections (STIs; p < .001). Most pediatricians (91.0%) reported that they begin discussing STIs when their patients are between the ages of 10 and 16 years. More than 94% of pediatricians reported that they "always" or "sometimes" discuss the vaccine when discussing STIs. Pediatricians reported that 67% of patients agreed to receive the HPV vaccine. Reasons that 33% of parents choose not to have their children receive the vaccine include the unknown long-term effects (71.1%) and the belief that their child is not sexually active (66.4%). Primary adverse effects cited by pediatricians include injection site burning (77.4%), with fewer reports of fainting (15.1%), dizziness (13.6%), fever (9.3%), and nausea/vomiting (2.3%).

CONCLUSIONS: Pediatricians in Connecticut who claim to be knowledgeable about HPV are more likely to initiate discussions of STIs. Addressing parental concerns and discussing the primary adverse effects may alleviate anxiety associated with HPV vaccination and increase vaccine administration.

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J Low Genit Tract Dis





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