Men More Open to HPV Vaccine If Framed As Averting Cancer

Cancer-preventing benefits influence men equally, regardless of sexual orientation

THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Men are more willing to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine when they learn that it also prevents HPV-related cancers as opposed to solely genital warts, according to research published in the August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Annie-Laurie McRee, M.P.H., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues interviewed 312 gay/bisexual and 296 heterosexual men online. The survey included four randomly ordered vignettes that described the HPV vaccine as only preventing genital warts, or preventing genital warts and either anal, oral, or penile cancer; the survey also assessed the perceived severity and likelihood of getting HPV-related diseases such as genital warts or oral or anal cancer.

The researchers found that when the HPV vaccine was presented as preventing only genital warts 42 percent of men were willing to receive the vaccine, as opposed to 60 percent when it was framed as preventing genital warts and either anal, oral, or penile cancer. Willingness to receive the vaccination was dependent on how the information about the vaccine was framed and was not dependent on the sexual orientation of the respondents, nor on the type of cancer the vaccine prevented.

"Public health messages about HPV vaccine should incorporate cancer-preventing benefits for men regardless of their sexual orientations, if clinical trials support cancer-protective benefits of the vaccine," the authors write.

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