Background: A scenario that must be considered when testing prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines in teenagers is the parents' acceptability of their daughters' participation in the study.
Methods: A survey was carried out in a random sample of 880 women between the ages of 15 and 49 years in the metropolitan area of Cuernavaca, Mexico. These women were interviewed to obtain information concerning their knowledge of risk factors for cervical cancer and their perception of the usefulness of vaccines. Afterward, they were provided with information on the main risk factors for cervical cancer and the future availability of a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Finally, we explored, with parents, the possible acceptability of an HPV vaccine for their teenaged daughters. The degree of acceptability and its association with a series of sociodemographic and reproductive factors were assessed.
Results: The respondents had little knowledge regarding the etiology of cervical cancer. Only 1.9% said that the principal risk factor was infection with HPV; however, 84.2% were aware of the usefulness of vaccines and 83.6% of the women indicated that they would allow their daughters to participate in a trial to evaluate the effectiveness of an HPV vaccine that helps prevent cervical cancer. The main factor associated with the acceptance of a possible vaccine against HPV was the knowledge of the usefulness of vaccines [odds ratio (OR) = 6.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.2-8.2]. Likewise, a history of two or more sexual partners (OR = 2.2, 95% CI 1.3-3.6) increased acceptability. Acceptance was not associated with the number of live births (never vs. ever OR = 0.9, 95% CI 0.3-2.1). There were 525 women with children over the age of 10 years (59.6%); prevalence of acceptability among these women was 80.1%, not statistically different from the remainder of the sample (p >0.05).
Conclusions: Acceptance of a potential HPV vaccine was high in this sample of Mexican women. Initiation of HPV vaccine clinical trials and immunization campaigns that target school children and/or teenagers who are not sexually active should include educational programs aimed at mothers of these individuals. Knowledge of the benefits of a preventive vaccine as well as the etiology and risk factors of cervical cancer should be emphasized.