University of Miami pediatrician, Judith L. Schaechter, M.D., gives an HPV vaccination to a 13-year-old girl in her office at the Miller School of Medicine on September 21, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Latino women are becoming more aware of healthcare.
In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended girls aged 11 to 12 to have their three-series vaccination for the human papilloma virus (HPV) since it was found to be the most common sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. The deadly virus causes vulvar, cervical and vaginal cancers.
While one would think that people in rich communities would have more resources for their vaccines, a new report published Thursday in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention says otherwise.
The researchers looked at individual demographics and communities, as well as geographic data, that factor in on people's vaccination decisions.
Apparently, the new study found that Latinos, black people and American Indian/Alaska natives have higher HPV vaccination rates than their Asian and white counterparts. In addition, girls living below the poverty line have had more frequent vaccinations than those above poverty.
According to the Guardian, the finding is rare since low-income communities generally have limited access to healthcare.
The study also revealed that Hispanics residing in white communities were as likely as their white neighbors to disregard taking the HPV vaccine.
This means that a person's geographical location makes a big influence on one's vaccination choices, according to the study's lead author Dr. Kevin Henry, who is also a health outcomes researcher at Temple University and Fox Chase Cancer Center.
A percentage of 61.1 of girls in poor communities were given the first shot in the series, while only 52.4 percent received the first shot in richer communities, the report said.
Henry said that while Hispanic girls are known as more likely to get the HPV vaccine compared to white girls, the community where these girls live matters since they will be influenced by their surroundings, according to Hutch News.
"You're finding everything is inverse essentially. You're finding that the wealthier people have less vaccination yet they have more resources, so in some respects, they should be higher," Henry said.
According to the president of the non-profit National Alliance for Hispanic Health Dr. Jane Delgado , she is "thrilled" with the findings of the new study.
Her organization reportedly organizes outreach programs on HPV vaccination.
"When we did focus groups with mothers, the mythology was 'Oh Hispanic parents, they don't want to think of their daughters having sex,' but you know what, Hispanic parents want to protect their girls from cancer," she said.
She added that even though most Latinos have been born in the U.S., there is nationalized healthcare in most Latin American countries. This results in individuals with less susceptibility to stigma against the HPV vaccine.
"In Latin America, very often, the idea of vaccines is very accepted," Delgado said.
However, Delgado is worried that vaccination rates are still lower than what health workers expected.
According to a CDC report in July 2015, in 2014, only 40 percent of teenage girls and 22 percent of teenage boys received the required doses of the HPV vaccine.
During its first release, the FDA's recommendation of the HPV vaccine had been highly criticized by parents as advocating early sex, according to NPR.
Fortunately, the tides are changing and rates of the HPV vaccine in the U.S. have become higher in Latino and poor communities in the past years. Hopefully, more Hispanic women, who are known to have high rates of cervical cancer and cancer deaths in the U.S., will take the vaccine and complete the advised three shots.
Know more about HPV vaccines in the video below.