By Sabrina Corpus
MPH Candidate, College of Nursing and Health Care Professions
Short for human papillomavirus, HPV is one of the most common STIs in the United States (CDC, 2018). If persistent HPV infections occur, it could lead to cancer and genital warts (CDC, 2018). This vaccination is typically a two-dose series if performed from the ages 11-14. If the patient exceeds that age range, it will be a three-dose series from 15 to 26 years of age. Though HPV is one of the most common STIs, why is there such a low record of teenagers getting this vaccination?
This issue, some suggest, is because there is no recommendation for this vaccine or that physicians’ messages about this vaccination are not influential enough. The majority of the states don’t require it, including Arizona (Niccolai et al., 2018). A team of researchers from the Yale School of Public Health decided to find out the reason behind the lack of this vaccination recommendation. The researchers conducted their analysis in Connecticut since they are one of the states whose education system does not have an entry requirement for the HPV vaccination (Niccolai et al., 2018). They rallied a total of 32 clinicians who were trained in pediatrics or family medicine and had them answer a series of questions about their vaccination message approach.
The results of this study showed that these clinicians still strongly recommended the HPV series, but also acknowledged that it was not required unlike the Tdap or MCV4 vaccine – which is more highly emphasized in the education system (Niccolai et al., 2018). After this research, the group from Yale’s School of Public Health suggested that clinicians develop a strong, urgent and consistent message about this vaccination in a timely manner projected for a long-term conversation, particularly when the individual is in the 11-14 range (Catalano et al., 2017).
So, what can we do, as individuals who care about preventative health, to increase teen and parent knowledge awareness about the HPV vaccination? One way to do this is by asking questions and initiating the conversation with a physician or health educator. Both of these people are trained and have extensive information and detail about the disease and its vaccination, which can help clear up ambiguity about the topic (Navalpakam et al., 2016). Secondly, conduct your own information research. There is vast information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that can answer additional questions.
Lastly, it is essential to raise your voice to public health officers, medical and social science researchers to continue understanding the psyche behind HPV vaccination (Catalano et al., 2017). Together, we can have a better understanding of this vaccination and help protect ourselves and others around us.
Catalano, H. P., Knowlden, A. P., Birch, D. A., Leeper, J. D., Paschal, A. M., & Usdan, S. L. (2017). Using the Theory of Planned Behavior to predict HPV vaccination intentions of college men. Journal of American College Health, 65(3), 197–207. doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/07448481.2016.1269771
Navalpakam, A., Dany, M., & Hajj Hussein, I. (2016). Behavioral Perceptions of Oakland University Female College Students towards Human Papillomavirus Vaccination. PLOS ONE, 11(5), 1–9. doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155955
Niccolai, L.M., North, A.L., Footman, A., & Hansen, C.E. (2018). Lack of school requirements and clinician recommendations for human papillomavirus vaccination. Journal of Public Health Research, 7(1), 29-34. doi.org/10.4081/jphr.2018.1324
Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2017. (2018, July 24). Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/other.htm#hpv
Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions’ mission is to advance healthcare by preparing students to promote health and wellness for best patient outcomes. Visit the GCU website for more information.