Background: The Latinx population in the United States faces tremendous health disparities, particularly with regards to cervical cancer. Data from the American Cancer Society show that cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates among Latinx women in the US are 40% and 26% higher than in US whites, respectively. These data are surprising considering cervical cancer is highly preventable through use of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination. About 70% of cervical cancer cases are the result of infection with HPV 16 or 18. The 9vHPV vaccine targets HPV 16 and 18 as well as 7 other HPV strains, and it was recently approved for use by the CDC in women through the age of 45. In 2015, only 44% of US Hispanic girls between the ages of 13 and 17 were vaccinated with all three HPV doses. Prior studies have shown that lack of information, cost, and fear are some of the main barriers that prevent Latinx women from receiving the HPV vaccination and vaccinating their children, and that these factors differ across subgroups of Latinx women. Methods: Our goal was to address these health disparities by assessing whether the Latinx population in East Los Angeles also showed low rates of HPV vaccination, and if so, why these women had not received the vaccination. We administered a promotora led survey (in Spanish) to a random sample of 89 Latinx women (aged 25-79) in East Los Angeles to assess rates of HPV vaccination in women and their children, attitudes towards the HPV vaccine, knowledge about the vaccine, and barriers to vaccination. We hypothesized that there would be differences in knowledge about the HPV vaccine, as well as differences in vaccination rates, based on age (>50) and country of origin (Mexico or other) in Latinx women. Results: We found a significant lack of knowledge about the HPV vaccine that persisted across all 89 women. None of the women surveyed had received a single dose of the HPV vaccinations themselves, either because they “did not think it was necessary,” or “did not know why it was important.” About 76% of women surveyed said they did not know what causes most cervical cancer (99% CI [65%-88%]), and of the 23% of women who said they did know what causes cervical cancer, none of the women cited HPV as a cause (99% CI [12%-35%]). Only 55% of women surveyed had heard about the HPV vaccine (99% CI [41%-68%]), and 82% of women did not understand the purpose of the HPV vaccine (99% CI [72%-93%]). However, Chi Square analysis revealed no significant age or country of origin differences in knowledge about the HPV vaccine or vaccination rates. Conclusions: These data show the need for culturally appropriate interventions that are both language specific and literacy level appropriate, in order to increase knowledge about the importance of HPV vaccination among Latinx women of East Los Angeles, particularly how it relates to cervical cancer prevention. Improved access to health education in the community could increase vaccination rates and decrease rates of cervical cancer in this population.

Citation Format: Sarita Sooklal, Rosa Barahona, Lourdes Baezconde- Garbanati. Human papillomavirus vaccination rates and knowledge among Latinx women in East Los Angeles [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Virtual Conference: Thirteenth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2020 Oct 2-4. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(12 Suppl):Abstract nr PO-274.