The main aim of my doctoral research is to investigate which factors affect the uptake of the human papillomavirus vaccine in the county of Hampshire, United Kingdom (UK).
Belonging to the family Papillomaviridae, there are 200+ types of papillomavirus that are known to infect humans – the human papillomaviruses (HPV). There is overwhelming evidence that HPV cause a number of diverse types of preventable cancers. Persistent infection with ‘high-risk’ HPV infection is responsible for ~100% of cervical cancers.
The most effective intervention for the prevention of HPV-associated cancers is prophylactic vaccination. Research studies investigating the uptake of the HPV vaccine have consistently reported substantially higher uptake of HPV vaccination in white adolescent females than in adolescent females from ethnic minority backgrounds. There is also evidence for a difference by deprivation quintile for HPV vaccination completion following initiation. School-based vaccination programmes have been shown to maximise uptake of childhood vaccines; the evidence, however, demonstrates that disparities in HPV vaccine uptake still exist, despite the model of vaccine delivery. To reduce the inequalities associated with HPV vaccine uptake, it is essential to identify all the factors currently associated with the uptake of the vaccine.