Date of Conferral

2019

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Health

Advisor

Maria Rangel

Abstract

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection and the leading cause of cervical cancer in the United States. Women from racial and ethnic minorities with genital HPV are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop cervical cancer. Vaccines are currently available to prevent HPV infections; however, despite their effectiveness, national completion rates for these vaccines remain low among Hispanic adolescents compared to non-Hispanic White adolescents. The reasons for this racial/ethnic disparity are not fully understood. In this quantitative, cross-sectional study, which was guided by the socioecological framework, the extent to which insurance coverage and having a source of health care influenced completion of the HPV vaccine series among Hispanic adolescent girls was examined. Nationally representative data from the 2016 National Immunization Survey-Teen was analyzed. Results of multiple logistic regression showed that gaps in insurance coverage did not adversely affect completing the HPV vaccine series. Hispanic girls with continuous health insurance coverage (p < .001) and girls who experienced gaps in health insurance coverage (p < .001) were significantly more likely to complete the HPV vaccine series compared to Hispanic girls who were uninsured. These results can be used to guide effective strategies to increase HPV vaccination among Hispanic adolescents. Increasing the HPV vaccine series completion rate among Hispanic adolescents has important implications for positive social change, including decreasing their risk of infections, reducing the prevalence of cervical cancers later in life, and decreasing the economic burden associated with HPV infections among Hispanic women.

 
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