HPV Vaccine Rates Highest in Poor and Hispanic Communities

Teen girls in poor or predominately Hispanic communities are more likely to receive at least one dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine than those in other communities, a new study finds.

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HPV can cause cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, penis and throat, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all girls and boys aged 11 to 12 receive three doses of the HPV vaccine.

Researchers examined 2011 and 2012 CDC data on provider-verified vaccination records for more than 20,500 girls, aged 13 to 17. In each of those years, 53 percent of the girls received at least one dose of HPV vaccine.

HPV, HPV VaccineThe highest vaccination initiation rate (69 percent) was among girls in predominately Hispanic communities and the lowest rates were among girls in predominately black communities (54 percent) and white communities (50 percent).

Poverty levels also influenced vaccination rates. Regardless of the racial/ethnic composition of a community, girls in communities in which at least 20 percent of the residents lived below the poverty line were 1.2 times more likely to have initiated HPV vaccination than those in the wealthiest communities.

The study was published Jan. 14 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.