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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Public knowledge and attitudes towards Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination

Charlotte Devereaux Walsh2, Aradhana Gera2, Meeraj Shah2, Amit Sharma2, Judy E Powell3 and Sue Wilson1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Primary Care and General Practice, Division of Primary Care, Public and Occupational Health, The University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK

2 The Medical School, The University of Birmingham, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK

3 Department of Public Health, Division of Public Health and Epidemiology, The University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:368  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-368

Published: 23 October 2008



Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine has undergone successful trials and has recently been approved for use for the primary prevention of cervical cancer. The aim of this study was to determine knowledge and attitudes towards HPV vaccination.


Semi-structured interview and questionnaire delivered in a street survey. Standardised HPV-related statements used to measure HPV knowledge and attitudes to vaccination. The setting was three different areas of Birmingham, to target a mix of social class and ethnicity. The sample population was composed of 16–54 year olds.


A total of 420 participants were recruited. Poor knowledge of HPV and its links with cervical cancer were observed. 81% had a knowledge score of zero. Knowledge about HPV was associated with different ethnic group and socio-economic group. The majority (88%) of participants were in favour of vaccination, with 83.6% indicating that they would allow a child under their care to be vaccinated.


Initial responses to the proposed HPV vaccination within the UK public are favourable. However, knowledge levels are poor and media and health professional promotion are required to raise awareness.