It appears the two cervical cancer vaccines do not target problematic HPV strains most often carried by African American women.
Gardasil and cervarix are recommended for young teenagers and protect against HPV subtypes 16 and 18. Gardasil also protects against two additional strains. Those strains account for about 70 percent of all cervical cancers.
But a preliminary study from Duke University School of Medicine found those 16 and 18 subtypes were found half as often in black women as they were in whites. In the study, African Americans were more likely to carry other cancer-causing HPV strains.
Experts say a big reason for this disparity is that African American women are often underrepresented in clinical trials.