Study finds physicians may be hesitant to recommend HPV vaccine for young adults

“This is so important to protect our youth. Do everything you can.” Bill Chesnut, MD.

Study finds physicians may be hesitant to recommend HPV vaccine for young adults

NPR (10/23) reports in its “Shots” blog that vaccination rates for human papillomavirus (HPV) “have remained far lower than rates for other routine childhood and teen immunizations.” A study found the reason for the low rates may be that primary care physicians “treat the HPV vaccine differently from other routinely recommended immunizations, hesitating to recommend it fully and on time and approaching their discussions with parents differently. In the actual NPR newsletter the title is Doctors, Not Parents, Are The Biggest Obstacle To The HPV Vaccine.

“The single biggest barrier to increasing HPV vaccination is not receiving a health care provider’s recommendation,” said lead study author Melissa Gilkey, an assistant professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School. That’s more of an issue, she says, than parents’ decisions to refuse or delay HPV vaccination.

“Discomfort talking about sex appears to be a more salient factor” than safety concerns about the vaccine.

Nearly all cervical cancers result from HPV infections, which can also cause vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile or head and neck cancers. Although most strains of HPV infections go away on their own, a three-dose series of the vaccine protects against the strains responsible for an estimated 90 percent of HPV-related cancers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends it for all girls and boys ages 11 and 12 because it’s most effective prior to first engaging in sexual activity.”

Read the entire report here: