Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection causes cervical cancer. More than 80% of those diagnosed with cervical cancer live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The World Health Organization recommends vaccination as a public health measure against cervical cancer. Communication interventions are able to change how people think about vaccination and are thus instrumental in addressing vaccine hesitancy. Our aim was to provide a broad scoping overview of the available evidence on communication with adolescents, parents, and other stakeholders around HPV vaccination for adolescents, with a specific focus on LMICs.
Methods: We conducted a systematic scoping overview of systematic reviews addressing a range of questions regarding communication around HPV vaccination. We considered reviews published between 2007 and 2018 focusing on communication around HPV vaccination and that searched for qualitative or quantitative studies for inclusion. We searched the Epistemonikos database which includes reviews from multiple electronic databases. Two overview authors screened titles and abstracts and examined potentially eligible reviews in full text. Data extraction was performed by one overview author and verified by a second. We assessed the reliability of the included reviews using an adapted version of AMSTAR 2.
Results: We included twelve reviews in our overview. Four reviews assessed the effectiveness of communication interventions. These interventions intended to inform or educate about HPV and HPV vaccination, such as videos and fact sheets, or to remind or recall, such as text message reminders. Eight reviews assessed factors associated with HPV vaccination uptake, including communication-related factors such as whether the vaccine was recommended by a physician and people’s knowledge regarding the vaccine. Nine reviews searched for studies from LMICs, but most found only a small number of studies from these countries.
Conclusions: The small number of studies identified from LMICs is of concern as these countries face the largest burden of disease related to HPV. This scoping overview also found and excluded a number of reviews because of important methodological limitations, highlighting the need for future reviews to use appropriate methods. The overview indicates areas in which further primary studies are needed on HPV vaccination communication in LMICs.