The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5181.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 2:45 PM

Abstract #39663

Exploring hepatitis B vaccination acceptance among young men who have sex with men: Facilitators and barriers

Scott D. Rhodes, PhD, MPH, CHES, Department of Health Behavior and Education, University of North Carolina School of Public Health, 319D Rosenau Hall, Campus Box #7440, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, 919/966-8650, scott_rhodes@unc.edu and Kenneth C. Hergenrather, PhD, MSEd, MRC, CRC, Department of Counseling/Human and Organizational Studies, The George Washington University, 2134 G Street, NW, #318, Washington, DC 20052.

Background: Studies continue to show that the majority of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the US remain unvaccinated against hepatitis B (HBV) despite the licensure of an efficacious vaccine in 1982.

Methods: This study uses a theory-based, qualitative approach to explore acceptance of HBV vaccination among MSM residing in Birmingham, Alabama.

Results: A total of 62 self-identified MSM (mean age=25, 2.3; range: 18-36 years) participated in one of 8 focus groups. Among the findings of this study, participants reported low levels of perceived susceptibility to infection; lacked basic information about HBV and HBV vaccination; did not perceive their providers to be comfortable with discussing their same-sex sexual behavior; did not identify tangible or intangible benefits to vaccination; had either limited access to, or discontinuity of, health care; did not trust federally-supported vaccination efforts; and reported that the inundation of HIV prevention messages hampered their receptivity to health messages in general.

Conclusions: There is an urgent need to enhance awareness and facilitate HBV vaccination among MSM. While further research is necessary, our findings indicate that numerous barriers to HBV vaccination exist that may contribute to low vaccination rates. Prevention efforts would benefit from addressing these barriers.

Learning Objectives: By the conclusion of the presentation, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Gay Men, Hepatitis B

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Gay and Bisexual Men's Health

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA