Posted: December 21, 2016

Only 34 percent of girls begin the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series, and among those, little more than half receive all three doses, according to a study by Shannon Monnat, assistant professor of rural sociology, demography, and sociology.

In addition, the vaccination initiation was higher among girls whose mothers had at least a four-year college degree and a higher socioeconomic status (SES) than among those whose mothers had a lower SES and were less educated.

Virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. According to Monnat, the HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys beginning at age 11 and prevents many HPV-related pre-cancers and cancers. Monnat and her research team, which includes Danielle Rhubart, doctoral candidate in rural sociology and demography, published their work in the Maternal and Child Health Journal earlier this year.

--Kristie Auman-Bauer