Study shows African-American women less likely to receive HPV vaccine

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine released a study on August 27 that showed African-American women are less likely to receive the human papillomavirus vaccine than white women.

The study looked at African-American and white women with access to health care. The data came from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, which is a nationwide cross-sectional survey administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The study is meant to examine the effect of race and ethnicity on HPV vaccine initiation in young women.

"The HPV vaccine is a first line of defense to protect against cervical cancer," Sonya Borrero, the assistant professor of medicine at the Pitt School of Medicine and senior author of the study, said. "Given that cervical cancer is more common and associated with higher mortality in African-American and Hispanic women than in white women, it is especially important to understand the barriers to HPV vaccination for these populations."

The data looked at a broad range of women, taking a sample of 2,168 women from ages 15 to 24. From this group of women, the results showed that 18.2 percent of African-American women received the vaccine, while 33.1 percent of white women received the vaccine. This difference remained even after access to health care and demographic factors were taken into consideration.

"Our findings in African-Americans suggest that there are other unmeasured patient- or provider-level factors contributing to under-vaccination and that alternate strategies need to be identified to increase HPV vaccination among African-Americans," Borrero said.