Objectives: To explore perceptions towards cervical cancer, HPV infection and HPV vaccination and to identify factors affecting the acceptability of HPV vaccination among Chinese adolescent girls in Hong Kong.
Methods: Six focus groups were conducted with Chinese adolescent girls (median age 16 years, age range 13 to 20 years, n = 64) in Hong Kong in April 2007. Thematic analysis was employed to identify major themes related to cervical cancer and HPV vaccination. A supplementary questionnaire was administered to all participants before and after group discussion to assess their knowledge, attitudes and intention to vaccination and to collect demographic information.
Results: Participants' knowledge on cervical cancer was limited and HPV was largely unheard of. They had difficulty understanding the mechanism linking cervical cancer with HPV infection. Participants held a favourble attitude towards HPV vaccination but perceived timing of vaccination varied. Barriers to vaccination include high monetary cost, uncertain length of vaccine effectiveness, low perceived risk of HPV infection, no immediate perceived need of vaccination, anticipated family disapproval and fear of the pain of injection. Factors conducive to vaccination include perceived family and peer support and medical reassurance on safety and efficacy of vaccine. The differences on knowledge, attitudes, intention to be vaccinated now and willingness to conform to significant others before and after discussion were statistically significant with increased tendency of favouring vaccination after focus group.
Conclusions: Participants favoured HPV vaccination despite that they might not feel an immediate need to do so. Interventions may focus on providing professional information on HPV vaccination and raising adolescents' perceived need to take preventive measures against HPV infection.
- Chinese adolescents
- Human Papillomavirus vaccination
- cervical cancer