Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Sociodemographic disparities in the incidence and mortality of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated conditions have been well documented in the pre-HPV vaccine era. It is still unknown if the introduction of routine vaccination has been effective in reducing these prevaccine era inequalities. The purpose of this review was to determine the utilization of sociodemographic variables to assess for disparities in population-level HPV vaccine impact research and to evaluate the current evidence for disparities in the reduction of HPV-associated conditions after vaccine introduction in the United States (US). STUDY DESIGN: A systematic review of the literature from January 2007 through March 2018 was carried out to identify studies evaluating the impact HPV vaccines have had on the rates of HPV infection, genital warts, and cervical dysplasia (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grades 1+) in the US. An in-depth review was then performed to synthesize these data and to assess the way prior studies have reported and evaluated for potential disparities in the vaccine's impact within various racial, ethnic, and/or socio-economic subgroups of the population. METHODS: Vaccine impact studies measure the change in the population-level burden of disease prelicensure versus postlicensure of the vaccine. We systematically searched PubMed/Medline and Embase, combining search terms related to the HPV vaccine, sentinel surveillance, and HPV-associated conditions. Eligible studies were those with population-level, postvaccine introduction data that were conducted in the US. Finally, a cited reference search was conducted for all included articles using the Web of Science platform that accesses three major citation indexes: Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Arts and Humanities Citation Index. This allowed us to screen not only the articles that were cited by our final collection of studies but also the articles that used our selected studies as one of their references. The study protocol is registered in PROSPERO (#CRD42018107579). RESULTS: Overall, 23 of the 4139 references retrieved assessed the population-level impact of HPV vaccines between January 1, 2007, and March 29, 2018. Among these, 13 (57%) reported sociodemographic data. Only two articles reported stratified results by sociodemographic factors, thereby allowing assessment for potential disparate impact. One of these studies described differences in the impact of the vaccine by race, ethnicity, and income. CONCLUSION: Although approximately half of the studies that assessed the impact of the HPV vaccine measured sociodemographic characteristics, few presented results in a way that allowed for the identification of potential differences in impact between the relevant subgroups of the population. Determining to what extent, if any, vaccines are reducing known sociodemographic disparities is an important public health priority and an essential step in developing immunization strategies that are beneficial for all.
Americas United States of America Adolescents (10-18 years) Adults (18+) Efficacy/effectiveness Coverage