Young women most at risk least likely to be offered HPV jab

March 17, 2014

Young women who are most at risk of developing cervical cancer are the least likely to be offered the protective HPV jab and to complete the full course when they are, reveals research published online in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

These women need to be better targeted to boost the overall uptake of the vaccination programme, which was well below the 80% required to make a significant difference to rates during its first three years of operation, say the authors.

They base their findings on responses to anonymous questionnaires completed by 2247 aged 13 to 19, and comparative national lifestyle data for this age group.

All the participants were attending sexual health clinics located in 19 hospitals and 13 community services across England between March and August 2011.

The survey respondents had much higher rates of factors known to increase the risk of developing cervical cancer than their peer group, as evidenced from the national data.

These included smoking - 48% vs 14% of 15 year olds - first sex under the age of 16 - 52% vs 38% (among 16-19 year olds) - and previous - 25% vs 4%.

Twice as many survey respondents as the population average were not in education, training or work, known as NEETs (8% vs 2%). They also had a higher prevalence of smoking and more sexual partners.

Three out of four (74%) respondents had been offered the HPV jab, mostly in schools (60%).

But this overall rate was significantly lower among those living in London (66%); those whose ethnicity was not white (64-69%); 17 to 19 year olds (67%); NEETs (49%); smokers (69%); and those with a previous sexually transmitted (63%).

While two thirds (65%) of those offered the jab, took it up, completion rates were significantly lower among London respondents (58%); non-white ethnicities (42-56%);17 to 19 year olds (62%); NEETs (48%); smokers (59%); and those with a previous sexually transmitted infection (53%).

Over half (57%) of those who refused the jab when offered it, said they might have accepted if they/their parents/friends had been better informed about its purpose, while around one in five (22%) said they had not been followed up.

Low participation in the HPV vaccination programme puts these women at risk of developing cervical cancer, and may also extend into adulthood and so affect their uptake of cervical cancer screening, warn the authors.

Low participation may also undermine the effectiveness of the programme, they add.

"Although the [Department of Health] has no explicit targets for vaccine completion, modelling work predicted a significant impact on cervical cancer deaths with an 80% uptake of all three doses," they write.

Explore further: Lower HPV vaccination rates putting girls from ethnic minorities at risk of cancer

More information: Uptake of the HPV vaccination programme in England: a cross sectional survey of young women attending sexual health services, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Online First, DOI: 10.1136/sextrans-2013-051179

Related Stories

Lower HPV vaccination rates putting girls from ethnic minorities at risk of cancer

November 4, 2013
Girls from some ethnic minorities are less likely to be vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer, according to new research presented at the National Cancer Research ...

Beliefs about HPV vaccine do not lead to initiation of sex or risky sexual behavior

February 3, 2014
A new study may alleviate concerns that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine leads to either the initiation of sex or unsafe sexual behaviors among teenage girls and young women.

HPV vaccine provides significant protection against cervical abnormalities

March 4, 2014
The HPV vaccine offers significant protection against cervical abnormalities in young women, suggests a paper published in BMJ today.

STIs and risky sex still an issue

November 26, 2013
New results from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), published in The Lancet, provide a picture of sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevalence and testing, uptake of sexual health interventions ...

Survey: Knowledge about HPV vaccine effectiveness lacking

December 7, 2013
Knowledge about the efficacy of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in preventing cervical cancer was lacking in the majority of survey respondents for whom the information would be relevant, according to results presented ...

HPV vaccination is associated with reduced risk of cervical lesions in Denmark

February 19, 2014
A reduced risk of cervical lesions among Danish girls and women at the population level is associated with use of a quadrivalent HPV vaccine after only six years, according to a new study published February 19 in the Journal ...

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.