Awareness, knowledge and utilization of the human papillomavirus vaccine.
OBJECTIVES To determine if health care workers are aware of the HPV vaccine and its availability, uptake of the vaccine and prescribing practices and reasons for non – uptake of the vaccine . METHODS Health care providers working in the private sector, in the Ethekweni health district in Kwazulu Natal, were interviewed. Health care workers included: 100 general practitioners, 50 gynaecologists, 50 paediatricians, 50 medical staff and 50 nursing staff. A questionnaire was designed for purpose of this study. Visits were be made to health care providers. All heath care providers who were willing to participate were interviewed. STATISTICS Comparisons of awareness among subgroups of health care providers was analysed using Chi-square tests. If significant, pairwise comparisons were made using a Bonferroni adjustment for multiple comparisons. Associations between awareness and other factors, such as demographic, uptake and beliefs were tested using a chi square test. Analysis was done by Stata v11 (StataCorp, 2009) i RESULTS Three hundred health care workers were interviewed - 50 gynecologists (16.7%), 52 pediatricians (17.3%), 99 general practitioners (33%), 49 other medical doctors (16.3%) and 50 (16.7%) nurses. Two hundred and sixty seven health care workers (89%) were aware of the HPV vaccine and one hundred and eighty eight health care workers (70.4%) informed patients of the availability of the HPV vaccine. Most (77.9%) practitioners have only prescribed the vaccine less than ten times. Gardasil® was prescribed by 46%, Cervarix® by 6.5% and prescription of either vaccine of health care workers was 50.2%. Practitioners were generally unaware that Gardasil® could be prescribed to males (62.9%). CONCLUSION Health care workers were aware of the HPV vaccine and prescribed the vaccine on request. However even though practitioners were aware of the vaccine, most have prescribed the vaccine less than ten times since licensing in 2008. Knowledge with regards to the licensed use of the HPV vaccines is deficient.