HPV Vaccine Not Frequently Recommended to African-American Girls

A new study showed that doctors are not encouraging the vaccine equally.

Posted: 03/26/2012 11:50 AM EDT

The HPV vaccine is effective in preventing the six million new human papillomavirus infections diagnosed each year and yet a new study found that there are disparities in which racial groups are treated to the vaccine. According to researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, African-American females aged 12 to 17 were 35 percent less likely to receive a recommendation for the HPV vaccine by their doctor.

The team analyzed data from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health and found that out of the 16,000 adolescents who participated in the study, almost 20 percent initiated the vaccines and 84 percent of those where encouraged by their doctors.

"I work with adolescents all day, and it's very interesting in my practice, when we talked about the HPV vaccine, how many parents had not heard about it," says May Lau, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern and one of the study authors. "I thought it would be very interesting to look at what is associated with people initiating the vaccine and who is actually getting these recommendations."

Another study on African-American parents' attitudes towards the vaccines conducted last year showed that in cases where parents were informed about HPV, actual vaccination was affected by whether the doctor recommended the vaccine for the child.


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