Over a decade has passed since the first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was introduced. These vaccines have received unequivocal backing from the scientific and medical communities, yet continue to be debated in the media and within the general public. The current review is an updated examination that the authors made five years ago on some of the key sociocultural and behavioral issues associated with HPV vaccine uptake and acceptability, given the changing HPV vaccine policies and beliefs worldwide. We explore current worldwide HPV vaccination rates, outline HPV vaccine policies, and revisit critical issues associated with HPV vaccine uptake including: risk compensation, perceptions of vaccine safety and efficacy, age of vaccination, and healthcare provider (HCP) recommendation and communication. While public scrutiny of the vaccine has not subsided, empirical evidence supporting its safety and efficacy beyond preventing cervical cancer has amassed. There are conclusive findings showing no link that vaccinated individuals engage in riskier sexual behaviors as a result of being immunized (risk compensation) both at the individual and at the policy level. Finally, HCP recommendation continues to be a central factor in HPV vaccine uptake. Studies have illuminated how HCP practices and communication enhance uptake and alleviate misperceptions about HPV vaccination. Strategies such as bundling vaccinations, allowing nurses to vaccinate via “standing orders,” and diversifying vaccination settings (e.g., pharmacies) may be effective steps to increase rates. The successes of HPV vaccination outweigh the controversy, but as the incidence of HPV-related cancers rises, it is imperative that future research on HPV vaccine acceptability continues to identify effective and targeted strategies to inform HPV vaccination programs and improve HPV coverage rates worldwide.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)