Objective: To explore Chinese women's perceptions of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and their intention to be vaccinated.
Design: A cross-sectional community-based survey study.
Setting: Thirteen community women's health centres of The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong.
Sample: A total of 1450 ethnic Chinese women aged 18 or above who attended the health centres.
Methods: Participants completed a written consent and an anonymous questionnaire onsite.
Main outcome measures: Knowledge and beliefs about HPV and HPV vaccination against cervical cancer and participants' own intention to be vaccinated.
Results: About 38% of the participants (n = 527) had heard of HPV and 50% (n = 697) had heard of vaccination against cervical cancer. HPV infection was perceived to be stigmatising and detrimental to intimate, family and social relationships. Despite misconceptions and a grossly inadequate knowledge about HPV and HPV vaccination, 88% of the participants (n = 1219) indicated that they would likely be vaccinated. Majority of the participants believed that sexually experienced women should be vaccinated, while 27% opposed vaccinating sexually naive women. Younger age women who perceived a disruptive impact of HPV infection on intimate relationship and their partners' approval were significantly associated with a positive intention to be HPV vaccinated.
Conclusions: The easy acceptability of HPV vaccination among the mostly sexually experienced Chinese participants and their knowledge deficit on the subject may implicate potential misuse of the vaccines and a false sense of security against cervical cancer. There is a dire need for culturally sensitive and tailored education for the public, women of different ages and their partners about HPV and HPV vaccination. Emphasis must be placed on the prophylactic nature of the current vaccines, the uncertain effects when given to sexually experienced women, the importance of adolescent vaccination and the need for continued cervical screening whether vaccinated or not.