Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States (US), and currently impacts approximately 80 million people. Approximately 14 million new individuals are infected with HPV annually, half of which are between the ages of 15-24. A survey was conducted among parents and guardians whose adolescent daughters attended a large local rural high school to determine factors associated with HPV vaccine participation. The majority of participants were African American (n=39, 90.7%). Most had completed at least a Bachelor’s degree (n=23, 55.5%); and the most frequently reported income level was between $30,001 and $50,000 (n=18, 41.9%). Most parents reported that their daughter had participated in the HPV vaccine (n=30, 70.0%). HPV vaccine participation was significantly associated with having an insurance plan that provided coverage for the HPV vaccination (Χ2=4.35, df=1, p<0.037), having easily accessible healthcare (Χ2=3.84, df=1, p<0.050), and having a physician recommend the vaccine (Χ2=14.00, df=1, p<0.001). Though not significant, a positive trend was found between increasing levels of household income and increased percentages of vaccine participation. Among those who reported that their daughters participated in HPV vaccination, 93.0% reported that that they did so to prevent cervical cancer. Among those who did not participate, the most often cited reasons were that the parents/guardians did not know about the availability of the vaccine, or they knew too little about the vaccine (46.2%). Other reasons were that parents/guardians perceived that their daughter was too young (15.4%), they thought the vaccine was too new (15.4%), or they thought the vaccine was not safe (23.0%). Results from this pilot study will be used to inform educational and policy decisions at the local level to improve parental knowledge and attitudes toward HPV vaccination, and to increase vaccine uptake among adolescents in rural areas who are of low socioeconomic status.
Kristen Dupard and Danielle Fastring