Objective: To explore youth clinic midwives role in cervical cancer prevention and their attitude to HPV vaccination.
Study design: Individual interviews with 13 midwives working at youth clinics in Sweden. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analysed by qualitative content analysis.
Results: Three themes were identified in the qualitative content analysis: "Cervical cancer prevention not a prioritised area", "Ambivalence to the HPV vaccine", and "Gender and socioeconomic controversies". Few midwives talked spontaneously about cervical cancer prevention. The responsibility for providing information about HPV vaccination was considered as primarily that of school health nurses and parents. Midwives were positive about the HPV vaccination, but recognised certain risks, such as its potential negative impact on cervical cancer screening and increased sexual risk taking. The midwives expressed concerns with medical risks, such as side effects and unknown long-term effects of the HPV vaccine. The midwives in the study had ethical concerns that boys were not included in the program and not all families had the financial resources to vaccinate their children. Thus, weak socioeconomic groups might be excluded.
Conclusion: The midwives considered cervical cancer prevention as important, but did not integrate information on the HPV vaccine into their routine work, mainly because young people visiting youth clinics had had their sexual debut and they were concerned about the medical risks and that the vaccine was too expensive.
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