-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- Low-income, minority parents
have more realistic views about their teens' sexual activity and
are more open to vaccinating their daughters against the cervical
cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV), a small new study
Conversely, white, middle-class parents are more likely to put
off vaccination for their daughters, according to researchers from
the Boston University School of Medicine.
"Approximately 33,000 Americans will get an HPV-related cancer each year, many of which can be prevented by vaccination," study lead author Dr. Rebecca Perkins, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, said in a university news release. "Solid communication between parents and providers is the key to improving HPV vaccination rates, which is what this study seeks to measure."
For the study, the researchers questioned 34 pediatric and
family medicine physicians, as well as nurse practitioners, at four
community health centers that serve low-income, minority residents
in Boston. The providers were asked their views on how parents felt
about vaccinating their daughters against HPV. The providers also
were asked to engage in a role-play to demonstrate how they
typically introduce or explain the HPV vaccine to parents.
The study found that immigrants, particularly from Latin
America, have more positive views on the HPV vaccine. The
researchers said this might be because these people had more
experience with vaccine-preventable diseases and cervical cancer in
their home countries.
Although teens' ethnic backgrounds or income did not affect
their sexual behavior, the researchers said immigrant parents were
more realistic about their daughters' sexual activity than white,
Rates of cervical cancer and deaths from the disease are
significantly higher among low-income and minority women due to
higher HPV infection rates and limited access to screening and
treatment. The HPV vaccine can reduce this disparity if girls are
vaccinated before they become sexually active, the study authors
The study appears in the May issue of the
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Funding
for the study was provided by an American Cancer Society Mentored
Research Scholar grant.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on
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