MedPage Today (08.29.2013)
University of Pittsburgh researchers reported that African-American women ages 15–24 were approximately half as likely to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination as white females of the same age, based on National Survey of Family Growth data collected from 2006 to 2010. After the researchers adjusted for socioeconomic variables and access to a “usual” healthcare provider, Hispanic HPV vaccination rates were similar to whites, but African-American HPV vaccination rates still were significantly lower, according to study co-author Dr. Sonya Borrero. Understanding barriers to HPV vaccination was critical since cervical cancer occurred more often and caused more deaths among African-American women.
Based on responses from a sample of 2,168 study participants ages 15–24, study authors concluded that the evidence of the HPV vaccine’s safety and efficacy has not been compelling enough to persuade a majority of young women to start the three-dose vaccine series. Only 53 percent of females 13–17 and 21 percent of females 19–26 reported having at least one HPV vaccine dose, and uptake of the vaccine has slowed in recent years. Of survey participants who had begun the HPV series, 33.1 percent of whites, 24.2 percent of US-born Hispanics, 18.2 percent of African Americans, and 16.2 percent of foreign-born Hispanics had at least one HPV vaccine dose.
Society of Gynecologic Oncology Spokesperson Dr. Leslie Randall recommended that doctors focus “extra effort” on people who might not take advantage of HPV vaccination, which offered a “safe and effective” way to prevent cervical cancer.
The full report, “Racial Disparities in Human Papillomavirus Vaccination: Does Access Matter?” was published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health (2013; doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.07.002).