Papillomavirus Vaccines, Hispanic Americans, Vaccination, Ethnic Group, Female


Background: In 2015, only 42% of Puerto Rican (PR) girls aged 13-17 and 44% of U.S. Hispanic girls aged 13-17 were vaccinated with all three Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine doses. These percentages were far lower than the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80% of girls aged 13-15 completing the vaccine series. The purpose of this study was to examine potential differences in HPV awareness and knowledge and HPV vaccine awareness and acceptability between a population-based sample of U.S. Hispanic and island Puerto Rican women.

Methods: We restricted our analyses to female respondents from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) 2007 (n=375; U.S. Hispanic) and HINTS Puerto Rico 2009 (n=417; PR). Using the Wald chi-square test, we assessed if there were significant differences in HPV awareness and knowledge and HPV vaccine awareness and acceptability between U.S. Hispanic and island PR women. We then utilized logistic or multinomial regression to control for covariates on significant outcomes.

Results: Both groups of Hispanic women were highly knowledgeable that HPV causes cancer (89.2% in both samples) and that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (78.1% [U.S. Hispanics] and 84.7% [PR]). Less than 10% of both groups recognized that HPV can clear on its own without treatment. Island PR women had significantly higher HPV vaccine awareness (66.9% vs. 61.0%; Wald X2 F(1, 97) = 16.03, p < .001) and were more accepting of the HPV vaccine for a real or hypothetical daughter, compared to U.S. Hispanic women (74.8% vs. 56.1%; Wald X2 F(2, 96) = 7.18, p < .001). However, after controlling for sociodemographic variables and survey group, there was no longer a difference between the two groups of women and HPV vaccine awareness (AOR = .53; 95% CI = .23, 1.24). Moreover, after controlled analysis, island PR women were significantly less likely to have their hypothetical daughter get the HPV vaccine, compared to U.S. Hispanic women (AOR = 0.26; 95% CI = .08, .81).

Conclusions: Future research focused on factors contributing to differences and similarities in HPV knowledge and awareness and HPV vaccine awareness and acceptability between these two groups of Hispanic women is warranted. Findings may assist in developing health education programs and media to promote HPV vaccination among both groups.