While cost was a barrier for completion, lack of awareness and understanding about the vaccine continue to be the biggest hindrances. These obstacles were especially pertinent for low-income and/or uninsured families and minority women. The researchers recommend better educational interventions; new physician-patient communication methods, including email and text message; increased physician recommendations; and public vaccine financing programs to increase uptake and completion rates across the board.
This latest research provides a broader picture of HPV vaccine acceptance and builds on a growing body of knowledge at UTMB in this area. Previous studies led by Berenson have focused on completion rates among females ages 9-27 and differences in parents' willingness to vaccinate their sons and daughters.
An estimated 20 million Americans ages 15-49 are currently infected with HPV, and at least 50% of sexually active men and women will contract it at some point in their lives. The virus is the cause of nearly all cases of cervical cancer and nearly 90% of genital warts. HPV is also associated with vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal cancers.
"These results underscore the critical need for better educational interventions and improved communication methods for patients, parents and physicians about the importance of initiating and completing the HPV vaccine to save our children from serious disease," said Berenson. "It is especially important to reach parents, who need to understand that this vaccine will help them do what all parents want most protect their children from harm."
|Contact: Lauren Whisenant|
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston