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Predictors of Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men

Gerend, Mary A. PhD; Madkins, Krystal MPH; Phillips, Gregory II PhD; Mustanski, Brian PhD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: March 2016 - Volume 43 - Issue 3 - p 185–191
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000408
Original Study

Background Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection that causes anal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers in men. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at particularly high risk for HPV infection and HPV-related disease. Human papillomavirus vaccination is currently recommended for all MSM in the United States through age 26 years, yet little is known about HPV vaccine uptake in this population. The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of HPV vaccine uptake and barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccination that may be unique to young MSM.

Methods Men aged 18 to 26 years (n = 336) were recruited via advertisements placed on a geospatial smartphone dating application designed for MSM. Participants completed an online survey. Correlates of vaccine uptake and provider recommendation for HPV vaccine were identified using logistic regression.

Results In total, 21% of participants had received at least 1 dose of HPV vaccine. Provider recommendation was the strongest predictor of uptake such that MSM with a recommendation were more than 40 times more likely to have been vaccinated. Additional predictors of uptake included age and HPV vaccine attitudes. Predictors of provider recommendation included sexual identity, race/ethnicity, condomless anal sex, and HIV status. Psychosocial correlates and barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccination among unvaccinated men were also identified.

Conclusions Findings highlight potential disparities in HPV vaccine uptake, as well as disparities in provider recommendation practices for HPV vaccination. Future interventions should aim to clarify misconceptions, modify psychosocial beliefs, and address barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccine uptake specific to young MSM.

This study of young adult men who have sex with men found disparities in human papillomavirus vaccine uptake and provider recommendation practices for human papillomavirus vaccination.

From the *Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; and †Department of Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Acknowledgments: The authors would like to give special thanks to Craig Sineath for managing the advertisement campaign and Katie Andrews for survey programming and data management.

Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Source of Funding: Data for this study were gathered in concert with online recruitment efforts for the Keep It Up! randomized clinical trial funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA035145, Principal Investigator: Mustanski). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Correspondence: Mary A. Gerend, PhD, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 633 N. St Clair, Chicago, IL 60611. E-mail:

Received for publication August 12, 2015, and accepted October 25, 2015.

© Copyright 2016 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association