Improving adolescent health: focus on HPV vaccine acceptance

J Adolesc Health. 2005 Dec;37(6 Suppl):S17-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2005.09.010.


The success of future human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programs will depend on individuals' willingness to accept vaccination, parents' willingness to have their preadolescent and early adolescent children vaccinated, and health care providers' willingness to recommend HPV vaccination. The purpose of this article is to provide a qualitative review of the relevant literature, including research on knowledge and attitudes about HPV infection and its clinical sequelae, the acceptability of HPV vaccination to individuals and parents, and health care providers' attitudes about recommending HPV vaccination. Additionally, strategies are suggested by which providers of adolescent health care can discuss and recommend HPV vaccines with parents and their children. The research published to date suggests that there is a good deal of misunderstanding about HPV infection, cervical cancer screening, and the sequelae of HPV infection. However, the majority of research studies to date indicate that young women, parents, and health care providers are interested in vaccines that prevent HPV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Of particular note are the consistent findings that providers are less comfortable vaccinating younger versus older adolescents and that endorsement of vaccination by a professional organization is of great importance. Furthermore, research suggests that most parents are interested in having their preadolescent and adolescent children vaccinated against HPV. Parents value the information and recommendations provided by their children's health care providers. To the extent that providers are concerned about potential negative reactions of parents to a recommendation of HPV vaccination, these findings should provide reassurance. At the same time, health care providers will need to be prepared to provide patients and parents with information about HPV and HPV immunization and to respond productively to the rare parent who expresses opposition to HPV vaccine or any other vaccine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Papillomaviridae / immunology*
  • Papillomaviridae / pathogenicity
  • Papillomavirus Infections / physiopathology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / transmission
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Viral Vaccines / therapeutic use*


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Viral Vaccines