A that my colleagues and I published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases
, stated that improving access to pediatric check-ups may increase parental awareness of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. The article was based on research that was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). We identified that parents of children who had a well-child checkup in the last 12 months were significantly more likely to have heard of HPV vaccines. These findings highlight the idea that pediatricians and family healthcare providers may serve as an important lifeline for HPV vaccine-related information for parents.
Our findings also have significant implications for child health insurance policy, as this study reports that children’s access to health insurance may be critical in ensuring that parents learn about HPV vaccines in the health care setting. The association between a child's lack of insurance and lower parental awareness may be a result of decreased access to preventive care.
We need to arm parents with important information about these vaccines and the implications for their child’s health, so that they have all the necessary information to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to vaccinate their child. Improving access to preventive pediatric healthcare may offer a critical opportunity to increase parental awareness of the HPV vaccines.
Read more in our press release
Whitney Witt, PhD, MPH
Director, Behavioral Health and Quality Research
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that infects about 14 million people aged 15 to 59 years annually in the United States, with approximately seven million HPV infections among individuals aged 15 to 24 years. HPV infections cause genital warts and a variety of cancers, including cervical cancer. Although current guidelines recommend standard administration of HPV vaccines for boys and girls at ages 11 to 12 years, less than 34% of adolescent girls in the U.S. aged 13 to 17 years completed all three doses of HPV vaccines in 2012.