A simple way to promote HPV vaccination among Asian American women: Storytelling

The Conversation, March 4, 2020 10.58pm AEDT

Why do so many Asian Americans and Pacific Islander women know so little about HPV? We set out to answer this question by interviewing  ethnic groups and conducting surveys.

Our findings suggest their knowledge and attitudes toward HPV prevention are closely tied to health beliefs and cultural or language barriers. What’s more, we discovered preventive health care is not a top priority for immigrant populations. In general, they seek treatment only when already sick. Our studies also suggest many of them are skeptical about participating in research.

We discovered in our study that narrative storytelling – that is, mothers and their children sharing their experiences and having conversations about HPV vaccination – can increase HPV vaccination rates.

From that, we’ve developed what we call a storytelling intervention for young Korean American women using a “peer-paired” approach. Because the storytellers are about the same age as the participants, a meaningful conversation is more likely to occur. The women are less shy about sharing their personal experiences, feelings and fears.