Cape Verdean immigrant parents report very low knowledge of HPV: an urgent call for culturally grounded and sensitive education to reduce HPV-associated cancers and disparities
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Manning College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Boston, United States
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1981
Racial/ethnic minoritized and immigrant parents have lower knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) and its cancer-related health consequences than Whites and United States (US)-born parents. Black women are disproportionally affected by HPV-associated morbidity and mortality, with the second-highest cervical cancer incidence rate compared to non-Hispanic Whites, and the highest cancer mortality rate. There is a lack of data for African ethnic minority subgroups in the US such as Cape Verdeans (CV). This exploratory cross-sectional study assessed HPV and HPV-associated cancer knowledge among CV parents of adolescents (11-17 years) in the US. A total of 109 parents, representing 109 unique families participated. About two-thirds were mothers (67%; n = 73); nearly all parents were foreign-born (96.3%, n=105) and the majority (86.2%, n=94) reported CV Creole as the primary language spoken at home. The mean HPV knowledge score was 3.5 out of 17 (SD = 3.9). Overall, mothers displayed higher knowledge of HPV transmission and cancer-related morbidity and mortality (4.4; SD = 4.1 vs. 1.7; SD = 2.8; P = 0.0001) than fathers. The knowledge item answered correctly by most parents (41.3%) was that HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. The link between genital HPV infection and cervical cancer was low with only 22% of parents correctly answering that HPV can cause cervical cancer. Though mothers were more likely than fathers (28.8%; n = 21 vs. 8.3%, n = 3; p = 0.02) to correctly identify the link between HPV and cervical cancer, it is noteworthy that less than 29% of mothers answered this knowledge item correctly. Moreover, knowledge that in women HPV can be detected by a Pap test (Pap smear) was quite low, with only 31.5% of mothers answering this item correctly. Findings highlight an urgent need for culturally grounded and sensitive HPV education program for Cape Verdeans in the US.