Adult women's attitudes toward the HPV vaccine

Mary B. Short, Susan L. Rosenthal, Lynne Sturm, Lora Black, Melissa Loza, Daniel Breitkopf, Gregory D. Zimet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Aims: Two human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines have demonstrated efficacy in preventing HPV infection and are currently being administered to adolescent girls in several countries. Although the most efficient HPV prevention strategy is immunizing adolescents before there is any risk of exposure, adult women also may benefit from vaccination. This study aimed to explore the attitudes of women aged 27-55 years toward the HPV vaccine. Methods: Thirty-eight women were recruited from a university-based gynecological practice, completed a demographic questionnaire, and then were interviewed. Results: Most participants had heard about the vaccine and were positive about the HPV vaccine for adult women. Women advocated universal access to this vaccine, indicating that all women should have the option. They assessed their risk level in several ways, including level of monogamy, relationship status, previous sexual risk behaviors, history of an abnormal Pap smear, and family history. All but 2 woman described barriers to vaccination, including cost, side effects, and hassle factors. Most women did not believe the vaccine would change risk behaviors. Conclusions: The women from this convenience sample knew the HPV vaccine existed and in general found it acceptable. If an HPV vaccine becomes available to adult women, healthcare professionals will be faced with the challenge of providing accurate information, being sensitive and willing to help each individual woman make a decision, and being creative when developing new ways to eliminate barriers to getting the vaccine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1305-1311
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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