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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: Study Finds Certain Subgroups of Black Women Have Lower Uptake of HPV Vaccination
Staff Writer
November 15, 2012
Medical Xpress (11.13.12) Aids Weekly Plus

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine concluded that improving HPV vaccination rates in African-American women may require culturally sensitive approaches that address ethnic barriers. In the United States, African-American women have higher rates of cervical cancer and lower rates of HPV vaccination than white women, and Haitian women may be a particularly vulnerable subgroup. Certain strains of the sexually transmitted infection human papillomavirus (HPV) are known to cause cervical cancer. However, there are now vaccinations to prevent HPV infections. In this study, researchers led by Natalie Pierre-Joseph, MD, and Rebecca Perkins, MD, of the Women’s Health Interdisciplinary Research Center at the Boston University School of Medicine investigated similarities and differences in knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices toward the HPV vaccine and compared vaccination rates among African-American and Haitian women and their daughters. The researchers surveyed the participants and assessed their HPV knowledge, using measures including perceived susceptibility to HPV, severity of cultural barriers, and trust in physicians. The research team compared survey responses with medical records to determine vaccination rates. Results showed that both groups of subjects had high levels of trust in their physician, and almost 75 percent would vaccinate their daughters at the physician’s recommendation. However, up to 12 months after the study, fewer than half of the participants’ daughters were vaccinated. Pierre-Joseph stated that the study demonstrates an important public health issue in the lower use of the HPV vaccine by racial/ethnic minorities compared to white women in the United States. She also suggested that the study emphasizes the importance of addressing the heterogeneity of the African-American population and adapting prevention programs for specific subgroups.