Online Program

Beliefs regarding HPV vaccination among young men who have sex with men: A qualitative investigation

Monday, November 2, 2015

Christopher Wheldon, MSPH, MEd, Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Eric R. Buhi, PhD, MPH, Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Ellen Daley, PhD, MPH, Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Men who have sex with men (MSM) have high rates of anal cancer as a result of prevalent and persistent anal HPV infection. HPV vaccination is recommended for all MSM up through age 26. Despite this recommendation the uptake remains low. The Theory of Planned Behavior was used to explore beliefs regarding HPV vaccination among MSM (ages 18-26).

Semi-structured qualitative interviews (N=22) with an ethnoracially diverse community-based sample of MSM were used to describe HPV-related behavioral, normative, efficacy/control beliefs and to determine factors underlying these beliefs. Interviews took place in 2014.

The majority of respondents had heard of the HPV vaccine but generally perceived it as a women’s health issue. After receiving information about HPV and the vaccine, most of the participants indicated a willingness to be vaccinated. The salient behavioral beliefs described physical benefits such as lowering risk and promoting overall health. Psychological benefits were described as protecting sex partners and providing peace of mind. There was some concern regarding the risks of vaccination including contracting HPV from the vaccine, not knowing if it would be effective, and potential side effects. Normative influences on decision-making were minimal. Availability, cost, and convenience were among the most salient external control factors. Issues surrounding disclosure of sexual minority status influenced control factors including self-efficacy.

Addressing the specific beliefs and concerns expressed by MSM can help to improve the effectiveness health education interventions promoting vaccination. A behavioral model of vaccine decision-making will be provided.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify beliefs related to HPV vaccination among young men who have sex with men Discuss potential health education strategies for HPV vaccine promotion among young men who have sex with men

Keyword(s): Behavioral Research, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of this study. I am particularly interested in improving the health of LGBT populations through interdisciplinary research and innovative health education programs utilizing emerging technologies. My dissertation focuses on the social and behavioral aspects of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination of young gay and bisexual men.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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