The virus HPV is the world’s most common venereal disease among both women and men. It can not only cause condyloma but also cancer of the cervix, mouth or rectum. There is an effective and safe vaccine that should be given before the onset of sex. In Sweden, all 10-12 year olds are offered the vaccine given by the school nurse. But one in five girls is still not vaccinated and thus has no protection against these cancers later in life. The reasons why some parents do not have their children vaccinated are complex: they do not know the connection between sexual habits and HPV infection and the risk of cancer, or are worried about the safety of the vaccine
The project is carried out in areas with less than 70% protected children. Our aim is to increase this share. First, we interview school nurses, parents and children to take advantage of their experiences and map their knowledge and attitudes. Based on this, we together design an information package that is given to a large number of parents in connection with them being offered the vaccination to their child. We then compare these parents’ knowledge and attitudes to HPV vaccination with those who did not receive the extra information, and we look at how many children in the two groups are then actually vaccinated.
When the project is completed, we know enough for a scientifically evaluated information package to be used throughout the country. Special groups we hope to reach are boys (who were not previously vaccinated) and immigrant children or children of low-educated parents (groups we have previously found have a high risk of not having their children vaccinated). We expect that our efforts can lead to those who remain unvaccinated becoming so few that they are still protected by everyone else being vaccinated. HPV-caused cancer is actually possible to completely eradicate, and it is with such efforts that we hope to be able to contribute to achieving that goal.