Study objective: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines will soon be available for clinical use, and the effectiveness of vaccine delivery programs will depend largely upon whether providers recommend the vaccine. The objectives of this study were to examine family physicians' attitudes about HPV immunization and to identify predictors of intention to recommend immunization.
Design: Cross-sectional survey instrument assessing provider and practice characteristics, knowledge about HPV, attitudes about HPV vaccination, and intention to administer two hypothetical HPV vaccines.
Participants: Surveys were mailed to a national random sample of 1,000 American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) members.
Main outcome measure: Intention to administer two hypothetical HPV vaccines (a cervical cancer/genital wart vaccine and a cervical cancer vaccine) to boys and girls of different ages.
Results: One hundred fifty-five surveys (15.5%) were returned and 145 were used in the final sample. Participants reported higher intention to recommend both hypothetical HPV vaccines to girls vs. boys (P < 0.0001) and to older vs. younger adolescents (P < 0.0001). They were more likely to recommend a cervical cancer/genital wart vaccine than a cervical cancer vaccine to boys and girls (P < 0.001). Variables independently associated with intention (P < 0.05) included: female gender of provider, knowledge about HPV, belief that organizations such as the AAFP would endorse vaccination, and fewer perceived barriers to vaccination.
Conclusions: Female gender, knowledge about HPV, and attitudes about vaccination were independently associated with family physicians' intention to recommend HPV vaccines. Vaccination initiatives directed toward family physicians should focus on modifiable predictors of intention to vaccinate, such as HPV knowledge and attitudes about vaccination.