Racial/Ethnic Disparities in HPV Vaccine Uptake Among a Sample of College Women

Chukwuemeka Okafor, Xingdi Hu, Robert L. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to determine the association between racial/ethnic status and uptake and completion of the HPV vaccine series in college women.

METHODS: Participants were recruited from a large university in North Central Florida. Young women between 18 and 26 years of age who were currently enrolled in a college course comprised the study sample. Participants completed an anonymous online survey that assessed sociodemographic characteristics, sexual behaviors, gynecological healthcare utilization, and perception of risk to HPV-associated diseases. Multivariable analysis was conducted to determine the relationship between racial/ethnic status and HPV vaccination status.

RESULTS: Of the 835 with complete data (51.0 % white, 16.5 % black, 13.8 % Hispanic, 8.3 % Asian, and 9.9 % other), 53 % had initiated (receipt of at least one dose) the three-dose HPV vaccine series. Of those who initiated, 70 % indicated that they had completed all three doses. In adjusted analysis, blacks were significantly less likely to report initiation [adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR) = 0.78; 95 % confidence interval (CI), 0.63, 0.97] and completion (aPR = 0.64; 95 % CI: 0.48, 0.84) of the three dose HPV vaccine as compared to whites. Although completion rates were lower in all other racial/ethnic groups as compared to whites, these rates did not reach statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings are consistent with research from other types of settings and demonstrate lower initiation and completion rates of HPV vaccine among black women attending college as compared to their white counterparts. Additional research is needed to understand why black college women have low initiation and completion rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-316
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • College women
  • HPV vaccine
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Racial/ethnic disparities
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Anthropology
  • Health Policy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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