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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: Study Examines Link Between Geographic Region and HPV Vaccine Uptake Among Young Women
Staff Writer
November 5, 2013
News Medical (10.31.2013) Aids Weekly Plus

This article in News Medical reports on a study of US geographic region and human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine uptake and completion among 18–26-year-old women in 12 states. The researchers used 2008–2010 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the largest ongoing health survey, from a dozen states in the following four regions: the Northeast, the Midwest, the West, and the South. Findings indicated that nationwide, an average of 28 percent of women initiated the vaccine and 17 percent completed the three doses during the three-year period. HPV vaccine initiation and completion rates were 37.2 percent and 23.1 percent in the Northeast; 28.7 percent and 19.3 percent in the Midwest/West; and 14 percent and 6 percent in the South. Initiation and completion rates were lowest in the South. Although the initiation rate increased with time, in 2010 it remained very low in the South (22.5 percent) compared with the Northeast (44.1 percent). When researchers adjusted results for age, race/ethnicity, marital status, education, income, health coverage, and routine medical check-ups, women in the South were less likely to begin or complete the HPV vaccine, and white women were more likely to begin and complete the vaccine series compared to other races/ethnicities. Dr. Abbey Berenson, professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the University of Texas Medical Branch’s (UTMB) Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health and a contributor to the study, noted that if a lower rate of HPV vaccine uptake continued in the South, it could result in a national burden of cervical cancer. Berenson suggested more physician referrals and public financing for vaccine and educational intervention to improve HPV vaccine uptake and lower rates of HPV. The researchers believed that regional disparities might have resulted from a combination of factors, including differences in income, education, and insurance coverage. Dr. Mahbubur Rahman, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UTMB and lead author, suggested an examination of regional or state polices to determine whether they have contributed to these variations. The full report, “Geographic Variation in Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Uptake Among Young Adult Women in the United States During 2008–2010,” was published in the journal Vaccine (2013; 31(47):5495–5499).