Study: Benefit to women not enough to sway men to get HPV vaccine (w/Video)

Jun 02, 2009

Informing men that a new vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) would also help protect their female partners against developing cervical cancer from the sexually transmitted infection did not increase their interest in getting the vaccine, according to a new Florida State University study.

Mary Gerend, assistant professor of medical humanities and social sciences at the FSU College of Medicine, and Jessica Barley, a 2008 Florida State psychology graduate who based her honors thesis on the study, found that men are no more likely to want the vaccination just because they can help protect their female sexual partners. An HPV for has been available since 2006, and a vaccine for men is likely to be approved in the near future.

"You can probably interpret this finding in a number of ways," Gerend said. "Thinking about the benefit to their own health -- protection again rare genital cancers and genital warts -- is all men really need to know; telling them all that extra stuff really isn't going to push them one way or another."

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Mary Gerend, assistant professor of medical humanities and social sciences at the FSU College of Medicine, discusses the impetus behind her study. Credit: FSU Visual Media and Promotions

For maximum benefit to public health, both men and women should be vaccinated but little was known about men's interest in the vaccine before Gerend's study, which was published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Gerend presented the findings recently at the annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Montreal.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which estimates that approximately 20 million Americans are currently infected with HPV and that another 6.2 million people become newly infected each year. HPV-related cancers are very rare in men, but last year the American Cancer Society estimated that nearly 20,000 women would be diagnosed with cervical and other cancers caused by HPV in 2008.

Gerend's research team randomly divided 356 male college students into groups and gave one group a self-protection message that focused on the benefits of HPV vaccination for men and the other a partner-protection message that focused on the benefits of HPV vaccination for men and their female partners.

Men were asked to rate, on a scale of 1 to 6, the likelihood that they would get the vaccine, with 1 equaling "very unlikely" and 6 equaling "very likely." There was little difference between the groups, with both expressing only moderate interest in getting the vaccine. Those who received the self-protection message had a mean response of 3.9 on the 6-point scale, while the mean response from the group who got the partner-protection message was 3.8.

Moreover, men who identified themselves as being in a committed relationship also did not indicate a higher degree of interest in the vaccination.

"Now, we have to remember that these were 18-, 19-, 20-year-old male college students, so we have to keep that in mind when considering their idea of a committed relationship," Gerend said. "And if we did this study again, I'd really want to make sure we drilled home the message of the seriousness of HPV for women. I think they got that message, but it might not have been strong enough."

The key point in encouraging women to receive the vaccine is the message about how it reduces their risk of developing . The results of Gerend's study have important implications for how the vaccine for men will be marketed for public acceptance when it becomes available. Efficacy trials in men are ongoing, and the Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve it for use in men as early as this year.

In the meantime, Gerend is working on another study funded by the National Cancer Institute to gauge the best message for encouraging young women to receive the HPV vaccination. The most recent estimates from the CDC, based on 2007 data, suggest that acceptance rates for the vaccine remain low -- about 1 in 4 for girls ages 13 to 17 and about 1 in 10 for women in the 18 to 26 age group.

Source: Florida State University (news : web)

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User comments : 5

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SDrapak
3 / 5 (2) Jun 02, 2009
I would love to take the HPV vaccine, but my wife and I were both refused because she's older than a school child, and I'm male.
People that think the Canadian medical system is superior need to experience it firsthand. If your doctor won't give you a treatment like this, you can't buy it, you're stonewalled.

If the virus doesn't come from sex with a partner, where do they think it comes from? It's equivalent to the government wanting HPV to spread and we're shocked and dismayed at the apathy and bureaucratic nonsense shown towards the spread of a cancer-causing disease when we have the tools in hand to stop it.
THEY
not rated yet Jun 02, 2009
Well if you are married, it doesn't make much sense, really. A/ You have all ready "shared the germ" if either of you have it, so B/ you don't need it unless you divorce or intend to have affairs.
Ashy
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2009
I wouldn't advise HPV vaccine to anyone until the research showing great fertility of vaccinated women and no sexual disorder of vaccinated men.
deatopmg
not rated yet Jun 03, 2009
"HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which estimates that approximately 20 million Americans are currently infected with HPV and that another 6.2 million people become newly infected each year." - CDC

What doesn't compute here? does that mean that the infections started to take off only 3 or 4 yrs ago or the company making the vaccine inflated the numbers, w/ CDC's help, to sell the product?
ArtflDgr
not rated yet Jun 03, 2009
the author is a sexist idiot who by imagining the unreal and negative thoguhts of all men as informed by man hating feminist ideology must mean that all men hate women and would do nothing to help them.

ya know. its idiots like that that make one not want to help!!!!!!!!!!!! cause if they are going to imagine thats the way the demonized class thinks, and is goign to act on their thoughts (like writing an article like this), arent going to give them credit!!

that is they will twist it to some other thing and thereby preserve mans inborne hatred of women (a completely false view of the world created out of ingorance!)

but hey! such befuddled people dont breed so the problem will fix itself in reality as their ideas create their own destruction (meaning that they are very boring darwin award winners!)

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