Rates of HPV Vaccination Highest in Poorer Areas
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Jun 15, 2016
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a serious sexually transmitted infection, and is the most common in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One of the most concerning facts about the virus is that when contracted, it can lead to cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva; cancers of the penis; and cancers of the anus. HPV is the main cause of almost all cases of cervical cancer in the U.S.
The good news is that an HPV vaccine has been developed, and is widely available in the U.S. The CDC recommends that all teens, both male and female, receive the vaccine at around age 11 or 12. A new study shows that, surprisingly, the rates of HPV vaccination are highest amongst young women who live in poorer areas, and lower amongst those who live in richer areas. The study is published in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Hispanic Girls in Low-Income Areas Most Likely to Be Vaccinated Against HPV
According to the study, the demographic most likely to be vaccinated against HPV is Hispanic girls. In fact, Hispanic girls in the study were 49 percent more likely than non-Hispanic white girls or black girls to be vaccinated. The lowest rates of vaccination were found amongst those girls living in predominately non-Hispanic white, or non-Hispanic black, neighborhoods.
Further, researchers also discovered that girls living in low-income areas are more likely to be vaccinated; indeed, 63.6 percent of girls whose families earned less than $25,000 a year were vaccinated, compared to 52.3 percent of girls whose families earned more than $75,000 per year.
Why the Large Disparity in Vaccinations?
The lead author of the study, Kevin A. Haury, is not sure why the disparity exists. Speaking to reporters for The New York Times, Mr. Haury expressed his concern over the discrepancy, saying, “We have a means to prevent cancer, yet the vaccination rates are very low.”
Two factors that may contribute to the difference in vaccination rates between income and race include that wealthier people tend to demonstrate more resistance to vaccines, and that the vaccination may be free for many low-income families .
Protecting Young Women Against Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is a devastating cancer type, and more than 12,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer are diagnosed per year, and more than 4,000 women die, according to the American Cancer Society. The HPV vaccine is one way to drastically reduce those statistics.
At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our attorneys want to make sure that everyone has access to the vaccinations that they need, and are aware of the risks of refusing a vaccination. We are also passionate about advocating for patients who believe that a medical professional has violated their rights, acted negligently, and caused them harm.
To learn more about our legal services and how we can help you, contact our skilled medical malpractice attorneys by calling us today for a free case consultation at (215) 567-3500.