Understanding HPV Vaccine Uptake Among Cambodian American Girls

Journal of Community Health
Volume 39, Issue 1, February 2014

Online First
Understanding HPV Vaccine Uptake Among Cambodian American Girls
Victoria M. Taylor, Nancy J. Burke, Linda K. Ko, Channdara Sos, Qi Liu, H. Hoai Do, Jocelyn Talbot, Yutaka Yasui, Roshan Bastani

Cervical cancer incidence rates vary substantially among racial/ethnic groups in the United States (US) with women of Southeast Asian descent having the highest rates. Up to 70 % of cervical cancers could be prevented by widespread use of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. However, there is a lack of information about HPV vaccine uptake among Southeast Asian girls in the US. We conducted a telephone survey of Cambodian women with daughters who were age-eligible for HPV vaccination. Survey items addressed HPV vaccination barriers, facilitators and uptake. Our study group included 86 Cambodian mothers who lived in the Seattle metropolitan area. The proportions of survey participants who reported their daughter had initiated and completed the HPV vaccine series were only 29 and 14 %, respectively. Higher levels of vaccine uptake were significantly associated with mothers having heard about the HPV vaccine from a health professional and having received a recent Pap test. Commonly cited barriers to HPV vaccination included lack of knowledge about the HPV vaccine, not having received a physician recommendation for HPV vaccination and thinking the HPV vaccine is unnecessary in the absence of health problems. Linguistically and culturally appropriate HPV educational programs should be developed and implemented in Cambodian American communities. These programs should aim to enhance understanding of disease prevention measures, increase knowledge about the HPV vaccine and empower women to ask their daughter’s doctors for HPV vaccination.