HPV has been in the news last week, as FDA approved the first HPV DNA test for primary cervical cancer screening for women over 25 years of age. For young girls, HPV vaccination is recommended; some countries have implemented school-based or national public health programs, which result in high vaccine coverage. In countries were such programs have not been implemented, the attitudes and perceptions of general practitioners and parents are important in determining whether girls are vaccinated or not.
France is such a country and we recently published a study on practices and opinions of general practitioners towards HPV vaccination. This study used both quantitative and qualitative methods: questionnaires were sent to 271 general practitioners in 2007 and then again in 2010; in addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 participants.
The study showed that acceptability of the HPV vaccination amongst the general practitioners in France has increased from 79.9% in 2007 to 87.1% in 2010. The vaccination rate in 14 year olds (recommended age for HPV vaccination in France) has risen from 19% to 49.1%. However, there were still some difficulties reported by the general practitioners, including concerns about side effects and addressing the issue of sexuality.
How is the situation regarding HPV vaccination in your country? Is it implemented in school programs and/or reimbursed by insurance? What is the general attitude towards vaccination against HPV?