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HPV Communication

October 27, 2015

Are physicians doing enough to promote the HPV vaccine among adolescents?



Communicating about HPV. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The newest version of the HPV vaccine could prevent up to 90% of human papilloma virus infections that can lead to life-threatening cervical cancer. But a new study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention suggests that only a small fraction of health care providers are conveying to families the importance of vaccinating all pre-teens in a timely fashion. Harvard Medical School researcher Melissa Gilkey led the study.

MELISSA GILKEY (Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute):

Receiving a health care provider’s recommendation for HPV vaccination  is the strongest, most consistent predictor for whether or not adolescents go on to get the vaccine.


But she says only 40% of girls and 22% of boys have been fully vaccinated for HPV in the U.S. by age 17.


We wonder if providers may be overestimating the concerns parents have over HPV vaccines.


I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.