Received 2 February 2010; accepted 2 March 2010. published online 21 April 2010.
We assessed U.S. physicians’ attitudes and perceptions regarding potential human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination of males.
We surveyed a random sample of 2,714 pediatricians and family practitioners identified in administrative claims of a U.S. health plan as HPV vaccinators of females; 595 pediatricians and 499 family practitioners participated.
Most physicians would recommend HPV vaccination to males aged 11–12 (63.9%), 13–18 (93.4%), and 19–26 (92.7%) years. Physicians agreed that males should be vaccinated to prevent them from getting genital and anal warts (52.9% strongly and 36.0% somewhat) and to protect females from cervical cancer (75.3% strongly and 20.8% somewhat). Physicians agreed that an HPV vaccine recommendation for males would increase opportunities to discuss sexual health with adolescent male patients (58.7% strongly, 35.3% somewhat). Most did not strongly agree (15.4% strongly, 45.4% somewhat) that parents of adolescent male patients would be interested in HPV vaccination for males, that a gender-neutral HPV vaccine recommendation would increase acceptance by adolescent females and their parents (19.6% strongly, 42.0% somewhat), or that a gender-neutral recommendation would improve current female vaccination rates (10.4% strongly, 26.0% somewhat).
Physicians who currently vaccinate females against HPV supported the concept of vaccinating males for its benefits for both sexes. They agreed that a gender-neutral HPV vaccination recommendation would be appropriate with regard to public health and believed that it would increase opportunities for sexual health discussions, but were less sure that such a recommendation would change patient or parental attitudes toward HPV vaccination or improve current HPV vaccination efforts.