Canadians would welcome a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) if it were introduced at no charge, a Quebec, Canada survey suggests. Research published in the open access online journal BMC Public Health shows that 91% of young women (18-25 year-olds) would agree to vaccination, and that 89% of men and women would recommend it to their daughters or nieces.
Chantal Sauvageau and colleagues from Laval University hospital center in Quebec analysed the responses of 471 telephone interviewees (18-69 year-olds, 33% men) during February and March 2006. Awareness of HPV was low. Although 86% of the women interviewed had undergone at least one cervical smear (also known as a Pap test) in their life, only 15% of those interviewed had heard of HPV. When provided with information on HPV and the vaccine, a large majority were in favour of its uptake.
The authors state that "Despite low awareness of HPV infection, our findings suggest that most young women would accept a vaccine that protects against cervical cancer, especially if it is free of charge and recommended by a physician." However, they note that the level of acceptance dropped sharply (from 91% to 72%) when it was suggested that the vaccine might cost CN$100.
The researchers do warn that up-take by pre-adolescents should not be taken for granted, as 31% of those interviewed were worried that giving girls the vaccine might result in them having sex at a younger age. HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer and is the most common sexually transmitted disease. A vaccine against some strains of HPV is now commercially available in Canada.
Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine and Cervical Cancer Screening Acceptability among Adults in Quebec, Canada
Chantal Sauvageau, Bernard Duval, Vladimir Gilca, France Lavoie and Manale Ouakki
BMC Public Health (in press)
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