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Mothers' views important in HPV vaccination

Girls are more likely to be vaccinated against HPV virus that causes cervical cancer when their mothers are prevention-minded.

Mothers

Girls are more likely to be vaccinated against HPV virus that causes cervical cancer when their mothers are prevention-minded. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by persistent infection with certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and experts recommend that girls should be vaccinated before they become sexually active, as early as 9 years of age. To explore whether mothers' attitudes toward protecting themselves from cervical cancer influences the likelihood of their daughters getting the HPV vaccine, researchers from California analysed the electronic health records of 148,350 mother-daughter pairs. Overall, about 20,000 girls, who ranged in age from 9 to 17 years, had started the three-dose course of HPV vaccination. Of those girls, 41 percent completed the dosing schedule within one year, as recommended. It was found that when mothers had recently had a Pap test (the routine screening test for cervical cancer) their daughters were 47 percent more likely to have begun vaccination. They were also 42 percent more likely to have completed the regimen. The finding was true regardless of race, income and education. The results suggest that mothers' attitude toward prevention may influence HPV vaccine uptake among adolescent girls and targeting mothers would increase HPV vaccination.
American Journal of Public Health
May 2009
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