Human papillomavirus vaccine among adult women: disparities in awareness and acceptance

Am J Prev Med. 2010 Dec;39(6):559-63. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2010.08.001.


Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines have been shown to be safe and highly effective in young and middle-aged women.

Purpose: This study aimed to assess vaccine awareness and desire for vaccination among adult women aged 18-55 years residing in Los Angeles County CA.

Methods: This study is nested in the 2007 Los Angeles County Health Survey. Included in the analyses were 2295 women aged 18-55 years. Logistic regression was used to evaluate vaccine awareness and intention to become vaccinated in association with various factors. All analyses employed weighted data and were conducted in 2009.

Results: Only 5% of women aged 18-26 years had received the HPV vaccine in its first year on the market. Overall, 67% of women aged 18-55 years had heard of the vaccine. Among those who knew of the vaccine but had not received it, 61% reported they were likely to receive the vaccine. Latina, black, and Asian/Pacific Islander women were only half as likely to have heard of the vaccine as white women, but Latinas and Asian/Pacific Islander women were more willing to be vaccinated than white or black women. Education was associated positively with awareness, but inversely associated with intention to be vaccinated. Awareness and desire for vaccination also varied substantially by other factors such as language spoken at home.

Conclusions: This population-based study of diverse women reveals important disparities in HPV vaccine awareness and intention to be vaccinated. Culturally and linguistically competent educational campaigns about HPV immunization are warranted, and should target high-risk populations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Continental Population Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Los Angeles
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines