Objective: This study's purpose was to assess knowledge and concerns related to the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine among underserved Latina women and Latina mothers of female adolescents and to explore differences between those in the vaccinated and those in the unvaccinated groups.
Materials and methods: We conducted cross-sectional written surveys of 206 Latina women at an urban health center in central New Jersey. Participants included vaccine-eligible women and mothers of vaccine-eligible adolescents. We calculated descriptive statistics, Fisher exact tests, and corresponding risk ratios (RRs) with 95% CIs.
Results: Of those who had heard of HPV (71%), 80% knew that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection. Fewer understood the causative link between HPV and cervical cancer (58%) and genital warts (45%). Vaccine safety was the most frequently cited concern. Unvaccinated women and mothers of unvaccinated daughters were more worried that the vaccine could promote risky sexual behavior (RR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.2-2.1) and more likely to believe that they or their daughters were not at risk for HPV infection (RR = 1.2, 95% CI = 1.1-1.4).
Conclusions: To maximize HPV vaccination rates among underserved Latinas, concerns about vaccine safety, potential effects on sexual behavior, and self-perceptions of risk for HPV infection must be addressed.