PURPOSE - To describe parents' acceptance of a hypothetical herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) vaccine, attitudes toward vaccine legislation, beliefs regarding appropriate timing of vaccination and correlates of vaccine acceptance.
METHODS - A telephone survey of 315 parents/guardians in the Southeast United States. Descriptive statistics describe the sample's overall attitudes toward HSV-2 vaccination, vaccine legislation, and age preferences. A logistic regression model tested the correlates of intention to vaccinate their children against HSV-2.
RESULTS - A majority of parents (69%) said they would have their children vaccinated. Nearly one-third (29.3%) thought genital herpes vaccination should take place between the ages of 11 and 13 years. Logistic regression revealed that females, single parents, parents whose children had influenza shots, those with more favorable attitudes to vaccination in general, and those who believed sexually transmitted disease (STD) vaccines would be beneficial were more likely to state they would vaccinate their children.
CONCLUSIONS - Overall, a large proportion of parents indicated they would accept HSV-2 vaccination for their children. These results help identify those parents who may or may not be open to vaccinating their children against HSV-2 and inform future interventions to encourage HSV-2 vaccination. This research highlights the need for interventions that differentially target those who would and would not be likely to support vaccination of their children. Results also indicate that many parents believe vaccination should be given after an age when many adolescents have initiated sexual activity. Interventions to promote STD vaccines should not only encourage vaccination, but should also seek to change parental attitudes about optimal timing of the vaccination.