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Author Notes:

Corresponding author at: Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway NE, MS F76, Atlanta, GA 30341-3724, USA. Fax: +1 770 488 3040. zab3@cdc.gov (Z. Berkowitz), mmalone829@gmail.com (M. Malone).

The authors wish to thank Dr. Crystale Cooper, Ms. Cynthia Gelb, Dr. Judith Lee Smith and Dr. Vicki Benard for their assistance with methodological descriptions related to the survey.

We would also like to acknowledge the Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts about Gynecologic Cancer campaign which licensed the items analyzed on the DocStyles 2012 survey.

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interests.


Research Funding:

No financial support for this study.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
  • Medicine, General & Internal
  • General & Internal Medicine
  • HPV vaccine recommendations
  • Cervical, anal, vaginal, vulvar and cancers
  • Vaccine initiation
  • HPV vaccine knowledge

Providers' beliefs about the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine in preventing cancer and their recommended age groups for vaccination: Findings from a provider survey, 2012


Journal Title:

Preventive Medicine


Volume 81


, Pages 405-411

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Background: The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was recommended in 2007 by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to preadolescent and adolescent girls. Vaccination initiation was recommended at age 11-12. years with the option to start at age 9. Catchup vaccination was recommended to females aged 13-26 previously not vaccinated. However, vaccination coverage remains low. Studies show that the HPV vaccine can prevent cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal and some oropharyngeal cancers and that provider recommendation of vaccines can improve low vaccination rates. Methods: Using data from 2012 DocStyles, an annual, web-based survey of U.S. healthcare professionals including physicians and nurse practitioners (n = 1753), we examined providers' knowledge about the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine in preventing cancer and their vaccine recommendation to all age-eligible females (9-26. years). Descriptive statistics and Chi-square tests were used to assess differences across specialties. Results: Knowledge about HPV vaccine effectiveness in preventing cervical cancer was highly prevalent (96.9%), but less so for anal, vaginal, vulvar and oropharyngeal cancers. Only 14.5% of providers recommended the vaccine to all age-eligible females and 20.2% recommended it to females aged 11-26. years. Knowledge assessment of cancers associated with HPV and vaccination recommendations varied significantly among providers (p < 0.01). Providers more frequently recommended the vaccine to girls older than 11-12. years. Conclusions: Improving providers' knowledge about HPV-associated cancers and the age for vaccination initiation, communicating messages focusing on the vaccine safety and benefits in cancer prevention and on the importance of its delivery prior to sexual onset, may improve HPV vaccine coverage.

Copyright information:

© 2015.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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