Original Study| Volume 22, ISSUE 4, P239-246, August 2009

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Obstetrician-gynecologists and the HPV Vaccine: Practice Patterns, Beliefs, and Knowledge


      Study Objective

      Human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, can be contracted by young girls shortly after sexual debut. Human papillomavirus can lead to cervical and anogenital cancers and genital warts. A vaccine has been developed to protect against precancerous lesions. We examined obstetrician-gynecologists' practices, opinions, and knowledge regarding this vaccine.


      A 37-item questionnaire was sent out by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to its fellows and junior fellows between May and November of 2007.


      Surveys went to 3896 fellows and junior fellows of ACOG. Of these surveys, 771 were Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network (CARN) members who have volunteered to receive several surveys per year. The remaining 3125 questionnaires were sent to all fellows and junior fellows in ACOG's District V (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Ontario, Canada). Response rates were 51.0% and 30.7% for CARN and District V, respectively.


      Of those who administer vaccines, most offer the HPV vaccine. Most know this vaccine protects against 4 HPV types. Fewer knew the percentages of cervical cancers and genital warts prevented. Over 20% knew all 3 answers. Only a minority answered all incorrectly. Approximately 15% view HPV vaccine as safe in pregnancy. Many agree cost is a reason for patient refusal and a deterrent from mandating the vaccine.


      Obstetrician-gynecologists are knowledgeable of the HPV vaccine and are incorporating it into practice. Financial concerns may limit widespread immunization.

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