Implementing HPV vaccines: public knowledge, attitudes, and the need for education

Int Q Community Health Educ. 2010;31(1):71-98. doi: 10.2190/IQ.31.1.f.


This article reviews qualitative research on public knowledge and attitudes to HPV vaccines, focusing on socio-economically challenged populations. Keyword searches were conducted on MEDLINE and ISI Web of Science for relevant peer-reviewed literature in English. A high acceptance of HPV vaccines was found despite low knowledge about HPV (types, prevalence, transmission, health risks, and cervical screening). Facilitators of HPV vaccine uptake included fear of cancer and desire to protect children's health. Barriers included low knowledge levels, perception of HPV vaccines as potential causes of sexual disinhibition, concerns about vaccine costs, social stigma, adverse effects, and parental unwillingness to permit vaccination of pre-adolescent children. Despite acceptance of HPV vaccines, implementation in low-resource settings faces social and economic difficulties. To pursue and strengthen cervical screening in these settings, public education about HPV is key.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / organization & administration
  • Immunization Programs / standards
  • Male
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Social Stigma
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / etiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines