A recent study reports that most black women are not becoming “One Less” by taking the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) that reduces a sexually active female’s risk of cervical cancer. Even though the black community seems to know about and trust the vaccine, only one in four eligible black adolescents gets vaccinated.

Since the HPV vaccine was approved as Gardasil in 2006, there have been concerns about its effectiveness, potential side effects and the possibility it would encourage adolescents to have sex. Most of the African-American young people interviewed for the study, however, were aware of the controversy and thought the vaccine was “safe,” “effective” and a “wise choice.”

Additionally, 45 of the caregivers who were surveyed agreed with those interviewed. They also indicated that “they wanted to protect their daughters from health and emotional risks,” said Ian Frank, MD, professor of medicine in the Infectious Disease Division of University of Pennsylvania. “This suggests they would respond positively to an increased effort to inoculate.”

HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause warts. While most of the 100 strains of the virus are low-risk, there are 30 types of HPV that can cause cancer in the cervix, vulva, vagina and anus for women and penis and anus for men. Using condoms greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of contracting or spreading HPV. To learn more about HPV vaccinations and Gardasil, click here.