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 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 (approximately $100 US).
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.
Article: Chantal Sauvageau, Bernard Duval, Vladimir Gilca, France Lavoie and Manale Ouakki, Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine and Cervical Cancer Screening Acceptability among Adults in Quebec, Canada , BMC Public Health (in press)
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