Assessment of health literacy and potential barriers regarding Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and the HPV vaccine among parents/guardians




Fernando, Shane
Rovner, Grace
Habiba, Nusrath
Magie, Richard
Bui, Priya


Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Purpose: As the number of epidemics that are currently threatening the health of Americans and the associated health consequences continue to grow, protecting future generations from sexually infected viruses has become a concern. With the recent release of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, children have the chance to be protected from some of the more common and symptomatic types of the virus. However, vaccine uptake has remained low, leaving many children and adolescents at risk for contracting HPV once they become sexually active. This research study aims at increasing the uptake of the HPV vaccine by identifying potential barriers in completing the three-dose regimen. Information gained will provide the basis for developing a new health literacy intervention within the department of Pediatrics at UNT Health Science Center (UNTHSC). Methods: Parents/guardians of pediatric patients at the department of Pediatrics at UNTHSC will be asked to participate in the study. There are two parts to this study: the initial interview used to establish a baseline, and a follow-up interview to estimate efficacy of the health literacy intervention. The multiple choice questionnaire evaluates the parent’s/guardian’s general perception of vaccinations, knowledge of HPV and the HPV vaccine, and potential obstacles that parents may face when obtaining immunizations for their child. After the initial interview, there will be a short 5 to 10 minute education session about HPV and the HPV vaccine, and the parent/guardian will be given a handout to take home. Additionally, a different questionnaire will be given to pediatricians to help assess their thoughts and perceptions behind the low uptake of the HPV vaccine among adolescents and recommendations of better ways to improve uptake of the vaccine. Projected goals/findings: The goal is to increase parent/guardian understanding about HPV and the HPV vaccine and to determine barriers to receiving the vaccination. By assessing parent/guardian retention of the information regarding HPV and the HPV vaccine and changes in their perception and/or opinions about HPV and the HPV vaccine, this project will gauge the effectiveness of the education session and handout method. If parents/guardians are made aware of HPV and the HPV vaccine, we predict that more children would receive the vaccine and complete all three doses of the vaccine. Moreover, since the population being evaluated in this study tends to have lower levels of education and income, identifying barriers will help increase our understanding of how to get the HPV vaccine to these individuals and be affordable for them. This project is ongoing and the protocol will be adjusted according to the study results.