A new Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) study has found that improving Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates in black women may require culturally sensitive approaches that address ethnic-specific barriers. The findings are published online in the November/December issue of the journal, Women's Health Issues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of males and females and in advanced stages, can cause cervical cancer. Black women have higher rates of cervical cancer and lower rates of HPV vaccination than white women in the U.S., and Haitians may be an especially vulnerable subgroup of black women.
The study assessed similarities and differences in the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices toward HPV vaccination compared to actual vaccination rates among African- American and Haitian immigrant women and their daughters.
Researchers led by Natalie Pierre-Joseph, MD and Rebecca Perkins, MD of the Women's Health Interdisciplinary Research Center at BUSM, surveyed African-American and Haitian women to measure HPV knowledge. The measures included perceived susceptibility of HPV, severity of cultural barriers and trust in physicians. The researchers then compared the survey responses to the women's medical records to determine vaccination rates.