Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are the most common sexually transmitted infections in the
Two studies presented at the American Association for Cancer Researchs Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting in
Many women with HPV show no symptoms of the virus, and infections often clear without need for treatment. Because of this, many women do not have the opportunity to speak with their physicians about HPV and therefore may not learn that some HPV infections are persistent and can develop into cervical cancer.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) created the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) to monitor health communications about cancer. In 2005, one high-priority research aim was to assess, for the first time, the awareness and knowledge of HPV in a nationally representative sample of women.
To identify factors associated with
Only 40 percent had ever heard about HPV;
Among them, less than half were aware of the virus connection to cervical cancer;
64 percent knew that HPV could be sexually transmitted, and 79 percent knew it could cause abnormal Pap smears.
The public needs education about HPV and cervical cancer in order to make appropriate, evidence-based health care choices among existing prevention strategies, including the Pap test, HPV DNA test, and HPV vaccine, researchers concluded.
Individuals are constantly being presented with new health care research that updates previous knowledge, might conflict with prior knowledge, or provides entirely new options for diagnosis and treatment, said Jasmin A. Tiro, PhD, MPH, in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI, in Bethesda, Md. With limited awareness about HPV among women in this country, there is a need for clear, consistent information about HPV transmission, prevention, detection and the link to cervical cancer. We expect that media coverage over the past year and direct-to-consumer marketing efforts by the makers of the HPV DNA test and the HPV vaccine will increase awareness, and NCI is conducting studies to monitor this possible increase. We plan to track the diffusion of knowledge to make sure that all women have accurate knowledge about HPV and how to prevent cervical cancer.
The Effects of Information Framing on Intentions to Vaccinate Against HPV
The success of the HPV vaccine depends largely on the publics willingness to accept vaccination. Because of the potentially controversial nature of the vaccine, researchers at the
The study was a part of the Annenberg National Health Communication Survey, a monthly barometer of the publics health communication practices and needs. The survey is jointly funded by the National Cancer Institute, the
A nationally representative sample of U.S. adults over 18 was randomly assigned to read one of three paragraphs about the vaccine, each emphasizing a different point of view: the vaccine protects against cervical cancer; the vaccine protects against cervical cancer and sexually transmitted infections; or, the vaccine protects against cervical cancer, sexually transmitted infections and may or may not lead to increased sexual promiscuity among those vaccinated. The survey was then given to gauge intentions toward vaccination. It was completed by 635 adults, 49 percent of whom were women.
More than half of respondents (56 percent) had heard of HPV and reported that they had seen or heard news or ads about HPV in the past week;
Although 42 percent of respondents had heard about a vaccine for HPV, 80 percent indicated never having talked to a health care provider about the virus.
How the vaccine was presented greatly affected womens intentions to vaccinate. When women read that the vaccine protects only against cervical cancer, 63 percent indicated they were very likely or somewhat likely to get vaccinated, compared to 43 percent of women who read that the vaccine protects against cervical cancer and a sexually transmitted infection.
Despite high levels of exposure to and awareness of the newly approved HPV vaccine, intentions to vaccinate are mixed, said Amy Leader, MPH, research director of the
Participants were also asked about their intentions to vaccinate if they had to pay for the vaccine or if the vaccine were provided at little or no cost. Although the majority reported having some form of health insurance coverage, intentions to vaccinate ones self or a daughter were substantially higher when the vaccine was available at little or no cost. For example, 54 percent of parents indicated that they were very likely or somewhat likely to want the vaccine for their daughter if it were provided at little or no cost, compared to 38 percent of parents who would consider the vaccine for their daughter if it would cost their family.
The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the worlds oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 24,000 basic, translational, and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the