Human Papillomavirus Vaccination of Males: Attitudes and Perceptions of Physicians Who Vaccinate Females

Journal of Adolescent Health

Thomas W. Weiss, Dr.P.H.a, Gregory D. Zimet, Ph.D.b, Susan L. Rosenthal, Ph.D.c, Susan K. Brenneman, Ph.D.d, Jonathan D. Klein, M.D.ef

Received 2 February 2010; accepted 2 March 2010. published online 21 April 2010.

Abstract

Purpose

We assessed U.S. physicians’ attitudes and perceptions regarding potential human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination of males.

Methods

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.

Results

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).

Conclusions

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.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.