Conversations about sexual activity within Haitian families: implications for HPV vaccine uptake

Dudith Pierre-Victor, Dionne Stephens, Kemesha Gabbidon, Naomie Jean-Baptiste, Rachel Clarke, Purnima Madhivanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Parents play an integral role in young adults’ sexual health including human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine decision-making. The objective of this study was to explore conversations regarding sexual activity in Haitian households and the influence of such conversations on young Haitian women's HPV vaccine discussion with their parents. Methods: From a large university in the southeastern United States, 30 Haitian-American college women (ages 17–26) were recruited for semi-structured in-depth interviews. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Most participants stated that they either did not have conversations regarding sexual activity or the conversations that they had were described as ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘awkward’. Many participants stated that once parents knew that HPV is sexually transmitted, their discussions about the vaccine would be considered an announcement of their sexual debut or sexual activity. Hence, many decided to not discuss the HPV vaccine with their parents. Conclusion: Findings have important implications for HPV vaccine uptake. Results showed that a lack of conversations about sexual activity within Haitian households led to limited discussions about the HPV vaccine among young Haitian-American college women and their parents. Future HPV vaccine uptake efforts should integrate familial and cultural beliefs about female sexuality, while focusing on cervical cancer prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-584
Number of pages14
JournalEthnicity and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • college women
  • cultural norms
  • Haitians households
  • sexuality discussion
  • vaccine discussion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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