Context: Because cervical cancer mortality in the United States is twice as high among black women as white women and higher in rural areas, providing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to rural black adolescents is a high priority.
Purpose: To identify racial differences in knowledge and attitudes about HPV, cervical cancer, and the HPV vaccine that may influence uptake of the vaccine.
Methods: We interviewed women (91 black and 47 white) living in a rural area of the Southern United States in 2006. Analyses controlled for socioeconomic status, age, and recruitment location.
Findings: More white respondents had heard of HPV than had black respondents (57% vs 24%, P < .001), and whites had higher HPV knowledge (42% vs 29% correct responses, P < .05). Blacks were less likely than whites to think that cervical cancer would be a serious threat to their daughters' health (75% vs 96%, P < .001). More blacks than whites thought the ideal age to receive the vaccine was 17 years or older (63% vs 40%, P < .05). Blacks reported lower intentions to vaccinate their daughters than whites (M = 4.14 vs 4.55, P < .05 in unadjusted analyses, but not statistically significant in adjusted analyses).
Conclusions: Black and white respondents had different awareness, knowledge, and beliefs related to the HPV vaccine. Communication-based interventions to maximize uptake of the HPV vaccine in the rural, Southern United States may need different messages for black parents of adolescent girls.