HPV and cervical cancer were used interchangeably by some, and the connection in both girls’ and parents’ minds was tenuous. More often than not, participants offered that they were not sure what the difference was between the two. When girls were asked what the vaccination was called, responses varied from “The Cervix Needle” (F, FG2) to “The Vagina Cancer” (E, FG1). “I think they are pretty much the same cancer [HPV and cervical cancer], but in different places… Like you can get like brain cancer, skin cancer, so it’s in different sections of your body…” (H, FG1). Parents were also confused about the HPV and cervical cancer relationship,
often misusing names. When asked what HPV was, one parent responded “I don’t know what
it stands for. It’s a vaccination for cervical INK 128 cancer” (F, P1). A second theme that described lack of knowledge was knowledge about HPV vaccination. Lack of understanding of vaccination was evident throughout many sub-categories, including what the vaccine protects against, how the vaccine works, HPV vaccination recommendations, the vaccine and Pap smear connection, and myths about HPV vaccination. Girls and parents were confused about what the HPV vaccine protected the girls against, though girls seemed more confused than parents. A majority of individuals thought that they Volasertib were now completely protected against cervical cancer. One girl stated, “From what I’ve heard, I feel like I can’t get it [cervical cancer] at all now” (J, FG2). A parent discussed why there might be so much Mannose-binding protein-associated serine protease confusion about this: “…just the adverts on TV. It just brought across the idea to most people that this is the thing that is going to stop you getting cervical cancer” (B, P2). Some girls also mentioned that they might be protected from other sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, though genital warts were not mentioned. After being asked what the vaccine prevented, the girls
in one focus group answered: “STDs I guess…” and another girl followed with “Not only that particular one [HPV]…” and another surmised, “[The vaccine is] Not for all sexually transmitted diseases, but only one type I’d guess…” (A, FG1). The way that the vaccine works was also a mystery to the participants who were interviewed. “Me and my mum looked over the booklet that was given and it said it only helps to prevent four HPV diseases and there’s a hundred or more, so it doesn’t seem very effective…” (F, FG1). Many parents and girls mistook the virus-like particles in the vaccine for the HPV virus or cancer. Other participants had some general ideas about how vaccinations worked, and applied that knowledge to the current vaccine. However, the idea that cancer was given as part of the vaccine was also prominent. “I thought that in the cancer needle when you got it they have a bit of cancer in it so your body can learn to fight it.