Purpose: To identify attitudes and behavioral factors associated with parental intent to vaccinate their adolescent children against sexually transmitted infections (STI) and adolescent intent to accept vaccination for the prevention of STI.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 320 parents and their adolescent children (aged 12-17 years) were recruited from urban adolescent health clinics and private practice pediatric offices to complete audio, computer-assisted self-interviews (A-CASI). Parents and their adolescents were asked about acceptability of gonorrhea, genital herpes, and human immumodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) vaccines. These three items were summed to create an STI vaccine acceptability scale, the primary outcome variable. Potential predictors measured included health beliefs, sociodemographic factors, and health and sexual behaviors.
Results: A substantial majority of parents and their adolescent children rated the three STI vaccines as very acceptable. Parental health beliefs and parental history of STI diagnosis were significant independent predictors of intent to vaccinate adolescent children against STI. Parental intent to vaccinate and having a friend who had engaged in sexual intercourse were significant independent predictors of adolescents' intent to accept STI vaccination.
Conclusions: The majority of these parents and their adolescent children found STI vaccination very acceptable, suggesting that there will be great interest in these vaccines once they become available. Interventions designed to address parental health beliefs may prove successful at maintaining or increasing interest in STI vaccines. Adolescents are likely to look to their parents for guidance around acceptance of these vaccines, but personal experiences also may play a role.