Purpose. This qualitative study investigated physician intention-to-recommend the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to parents of adolescent girls in India. There are currently no data on attitudes to HPV vaccination among healthcare providers in India.
Methods. Between June and August 2008, 20 semistructured qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted among physicians from a range of specialties and practice settings in Mysore District, India. Physicians were interviewed about their specialty and the types of patients they saw in their practice, attitudes toward recommending HPV vaccination to parents of adolescent girls, perceived subjective norms surrounding the promotion of vaccines in their work settings, and their perceptions regarding self-efficacy in recommending the HPV vaccine.
Results. The study found that knowledge about HPV infection and its relationship to cervical cancer was low among physicians across specialties. While most physicians expressed positive attitudes toward vaccination in general, and HPV vaccination in particular, the overwhelming majority believed that few of their patients would react positively to a vaccine recommendation. Physicians were concerned about talking to parents about their adolescent daughters' reproductive lives. Certain specialties, particularly obstetrician/gynecologists, suggested that recommending immunization was not appropriate in their work setting.
Conclusion. With the HPV vaccine recently being approved in India, there is a strong need to provide more education for physicians about the relationship of HPV infection and cervical cancer and the benefits of vaccinating adolescent girls to prevent cervical cancer in the future.
Journal of Adolescent Health (2010) 46 (4) 379-384 [10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.10.001]