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Research shows the prevalence of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) in the United States is down by 60% among teenage girls, since the introduction of the HPV vaccine, Fox News reports.
For the study, researchers pulled data from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and concluded that HPV is down 64 percent among teenage girls ages 14 to 19 and 34 percent among young women ages 20 to 24.
Although the HPV vaccine has the potential to prevent thousands of individuals from getting HPV related cancers (cervical cancers, penile cancers, head and neck cancers) uptake of the vaccine remains low.
“We have this cancer-prevention vaccine that is severely underutilized in the United States,” Dr. Kevin Henry of Temple University said in news update from Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center. “We need to explore ways to improve targeted public health messaging to improve this vaccine among the sociodemographic groups that are less likely to receive it, which we’re finding are the higher income groups.”
According Henry’s recent study, various social and economic barriers may influence one’s likelihood of getting the vaccine. The study found that race and ethnicity are not the only factors influencing uptake of the vaccine, but where one lives also seems to play an important role in determining who gets vaccinated.
At a national level, Latinas from low-income communities had a higher uptake of the vaccine than Latinas living in predominantly non-Latino white communities, according to the study. However, there are still areas like certain rural communities, where access and vaccination rates among Latina teens remained low.
The study also found that health care providers play an integral role in recommending the vaccine to teens.
How can you take action to help more preteens and teens across the country get vaccinated? Spread the word this August during National Immunization Awareness Month about how this vaccine can prevent certain cancers and save lives.