Background: A human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use among women/girls in 2006. Since that time, limited research has examined HPV vaccine uptake among adolescent girls and no studies have examined the role of geographic disparities in HPV vaccination.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine geographic disparity in the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and to examine individual-, county-, and state-level correlates of vaccination.
Methods: Three-level random intercept multilevel logistic regression models were fitted to data from girls aged 13-17 years living in six U.S. states using data from the 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the 2000 U.S. census.
Results: Data from 1709 girls nested within 274 counties and six states were included. Girls were predominantly white (70.6%) and insured (74.5%). Overall, 34.4% of girls were vaccinated. Significant geographic disparity across states (variance=0.134, SE=0.065) and counties (variance=0.146, SE=0.063) was present, which was partially explained by state and county poverty levels. Independent of individual-level factors, poverty had differing effects at the state and county level: girls in states with higher levels of poverty were less likely whereas girls in counties with higher poverty levels were more likely to be vaccinated. Household income demonstrated a similar pattern to that of county-level poverty: Compared to girls in the highest-income families, girls in the lowest-income families were more likely to be vaccinated.
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest geographic disparity in HPV vaccination. Although higher state-level poverty is associated with a lower likelihood of vaccination, higher county-level poverty and lower income at the family level is associated with a higher likelihood of vaccination. Research is needed to better understand these disparities and to inform interventions to increase vaccination among all eligible girls.
2010 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.