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Researchers Identify Barriers To HPV Vaccination Uptake In Low Income Populations

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Houston, TX- Results of two separate studies show lower rates of HPV vaccination in low-income populations, and identify vaccination barriers and tailored interventions that may help to increase HPV vaccine uptake rates.

Findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, held in Houston, Dec. 6-9, 2009.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found striking disparities in knowledge and awareness of HPV vaccines in different low-income minority groups.

"We expected some differences between the various ethnic groups, but not necessarily as many as we found," said Roshan Bastani, Ph.D., professor of health services and associate dean for research at the UCLA School of Public Health. She led the study, which was conducted through the Cancer Prevention Control Research Network (funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Cancer Institute).

Bastani and colleagues surveyed 390 mothers of girls aged 9 to 18 years who were registered with the Los Angeles County Office of Women's Health. Fifty-four percent of the participants were Latina, 20 percent were Chinese, 13 percent were Korean, 8 percent were black and 6 percent were of other ethnic origin.

Findings showed that vaccination rates were comparable to that of state and national estimates, however, there were significant gaps in the level of knowledge and awareness of HPV vaccine between ethnic groups.

-- While 64 percent of respondents reported having heard of the HPV vaccine, among Koreans the rate was only 42 percent.

-- Twenty-eight percent of the participating mothers reported knowing where to take their daughters to get the vaccine. This knowledge differed by ethnicity, with the lowest rates among Koreans (16 percent) and Chinese (19 percent) compared with blacks (29 percent) and Latinas (35 percent).

-- Only 28 percent of participants said they had enough information to make an informed decision about HPV vaccination; Koreans (14 percent) and Chinese (17 percent) had the lowest rates compared with Latinas (31 percent) and blacks (56 percent).

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