Background: Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the causative agent of cervical neoplasia and genital warts. A vaccine has recently been developed that may prevent infection with HPV. Vaccination for HPV may become a routine part of office gynecology. We surveyed members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to determine their attitudes to HPV vaccination.
Methods: A survey was sent to Fellows of ACOG to evaluate gynecologists' attitudes. Vaccine acceptability was analyzed using 13 scenarios with the following dimensions and respective attributes: age of patient (13, 17 and 22 years); efficacy of vaccine (50% or 80%); ACOG recommendation (yes or no); and disease targeted (cervical cancer, warts or both). Each scenario was rated by means of an 11-point response format (0 to 100). Responses were evaluated using conjoint analysis.
Results: Of 1200 surveys that were sent out, 181 were returned and included in our analysis. ACOG recommendation was considered the most important variable in vaccine distribution (importance score = 32.2), followed by efficacy (24.5), age (22.4) and, lastly, disease targeted (20.9). Of these variables, higher efficacy was favored; preference was given to age 17 years, with a strong disinclination to vaccinate at age 13 years; and protection against cervical cancer, or genital warts, or both, was significantly favored over a vaccine against genital warts alone. Demographic characteristics of the gynecologists (i.e., age of physician, gender, practice setting and community size) did not play an important role in the decision to recommend vaccination.
Conclusion: Professional society recommendation is important for acceptability of a potential HPV vaccine. Gynecologists are willing to include this vaccine in their office practice.