Geographic Factors May Influence HPV Vaccine Initiation in Teen Girls

HealthDay News — Initiation of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is highest among teen girls in poorer communities and in populations that are mainly Hispanic or mixed race, according to a study published online in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Kevin A. Henry, PhD, from Temple University in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined geographic factors that may be associated with HPV vaccine uptake using data from the 2011 and 2012 National Immunization Survey-Teen for 20,565 females aged 13 to 17 years. The authors examined the correlation of HPV vaccine initiation with ZIP code-level geographic factors.

The researchers found that in both years, about 53% of girls initiated the HPV vaccine. Compared with girls in low-poverty communities, those in high-poverty communities had higher HPV vaccine initiation (61.1 versus 52.4%; adjusted odds ratio, 1.18). 

Girls in communities where the majority of the population was Hispanic or non-Hispanic mixed race had higher initiation than in majority non-Hispanic white communities (69.0 and 60.4, respectively, versus 49.9%; adjusted odds ratios, 1.64 and 1.30, respectively). The odds of initiation were significantly higher for Hispanic girls living in Hispanic communities compared with those living in predominantly non-Hispanic white or non-Hispanic black communities (adjusted odds ratios, 2.23 and 1.90, respectively).

“Given low HPV vaccination rates in the United States, these results provide important evidence to inform public health interventions to increase HPV vaccination,” the authors write.


1. Henry KA, Stroup A, Warner EL, et al. Geographic Factors and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination Initiation Among Adolescent Girls in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016; doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-0658.