Challenges to Accepting a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine: A Qualitative Study of Australian Women Academic Article uri icon


  • A vaccine that protects women against the two most frequent high-risk genotypes of human papilloma virus (HPV) and the two types that cause 90 percent of genital warts was licensed in June 2006 in the USA and Australia. It is important to understand whether a vaccine delivered to young women before the onset of sexual activity would be acceptable. The goal of this project was to investigate the knowledge and awareness of Victorian women about cervical cancer and HPV infections, and their beliefs about, and possible barriers to, a potential vaccine. We report on findings from five focus groups, held between August and October 2005, which targeted 34 women, aged 22 to 71, from diverse backgrounds. High levels of acceptance of vaccines in general were expressed, particularly if the vaccine is recommended by health professionals and supported by the government. Reservations emerged about the proposed HPV vaccine when the link between HPV and sexual activity was understood. We offer suggestions concerning the nature of information required prior to the introduction of a vaccination program and the mechanisms by which the information can be delivered to ensure its availability to all women.

publication date

  • August 8, 2007