Date of Award

Spring 2020

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Nolan Kline

Committee Member

Ashley Kistler

Committee Member

Shan-Estelle Brown


Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. The spread of HPV can be prevented through vaccination; however, vulnerable Latinx populations do not get vaccinated at the same rates as other populations in America (Luque et al., 2012). In my research, I investigated the impact that the current administration’s politics have on access to preventative healthcare, particularly the HPV vaccination, for the Latinx community. I looked at the populations’ understanding of the vaccine, their ambivalence towards its application, and their perceptions of the effect of policies on access to that specific medication. Looking at these structural problems through the lens of activist anthropology, I developed a set of guiding questions that were distilled through ethnographic surveys, focus groups, and key-informant interviews. With the support of two local community organizations that advocate for immigrant rights, I was able to gather significant evidence that suggests several trends in the lack of access to HPV vaccination. Respondents reported having minimal knowledge of the HPV vaccination due to the doctors’ lack of explanation about medical procedures. Those who reported knowing about the vaccination suggested not needing it because it was not necessary for school entrance. Moreover, they connected this lack of information to instances of medical racism at clinics and hospitals that trickle down from anti-immigrant rhetoric during the Trump Administration. Finally, many reported having increased fear to leave the household for noncritical activities due to stricter immigration politics which I correlate to further structural vulnerabilities that exacerbate access to HPV vaccination.

Rights Holder

Silvana Montañola