Author(s): Hofstetter AM, Rosenthal SL
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Abstract Vaccination of adolescents against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is an important prevention strategy that may reduce the global burden of disease. The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and other national health agencies recommend the use of existing STI vaccines, and many countries have incorporated them into their routine vaccination schedule. Despite this, however, data indicate that STI vaccine uptake is suboptimal for a variety of reasons. Health care professionals (HCP) have been shown to have a strong beneficial effect on STI vaccine uptake, yet studies demonstrate that many HCPs fail to discuss or recommend them to adolescent patients. This review article focuses on HCP communication about STI vaccines with adolescents and their parents. It describes STI vaccine message content and delivery as well as the context in which HCPs formulate their messaging approach. It also examines other contextual factors that may shape communication about STI vaccines. Studies from many countries indicate that HCPs often possess misinformation about adolescents, including their sexual risk behaviors, as well as STIs, vaccine safety and efficacy, and STI vaccination recommendations. They also have misconceptions of parental barriers to STI vaccination. These may impact STI vaccine communication and have a negative influence on STI vaccine uptake. These findings highlight the critical need for improved HCP education related to adolescent health, sexuality, and STI vaccination. This may be particularly important in settings without an existing infrastructure or expertise in caring for this unique patient population. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Vaccine
and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination