Research shows that vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is one of the most effective methods for reducing risk for cervical cancer; it also protects against other HPV-related cancers. Controversies exist regarding HPV vaccination in several communities; which may in part explain why although rates of HPV vaccination are increasing nationwide, Los Angeles County (LAC) data show that many adolescents are still not vaccinated. These adolescents remain at high-risk for infection. Using community-based participatory principles, we conducted an environmental scan that included a literature review, the development of a community advisory board, community feedback from HPV community meetings, and interviews with stakeholders to understand attitudes toward HPV vaccination and their impact in follow through with HPV vaccines. Twenty-eight key stakeholders participated in our coalition comprised of community organizations and clinics with strong ties to the local community. This is the only coalition dedicated exclusively to improving HPV vaccine uptake in LAC. Of these, twenty-one participated in an environmental scan via qualitative interviews about HPV vaccination programs, service delivery priorities, and proposed steps to increase HPV vaccination uptake in LAC. The environmental scan revealed targets for future efforts, barriers to HPV uptake, and next steps for improving local HPV vaccination uptake rates. The environmental scan also identified local HPV vaccination interventions and resources. Although LAC has developed important efforts for vaccination, some interventions are no longer being implemented due to lack of funds; others have not been evaluated with sufficient outcome data. The risk for cervical and other HPV-related cancers could be greatly reduced in LAC if a multilevel, multicultural, and multilingual approach is taken to better understand rates of HPV vaccination uptake, particularly among racial/ethnic minorities and LGBTQ youth. Our environmental scan provides guidance on attitudes toward vaccination, and how best to address the needs of LAC families and providers.
Keywords: Adolescents; Cancer; Environmental scan; HPV; Los Angeles; Vaccination.
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