Increasing HPV vaccination and eliminating barriers: Recommendations from young men who have sex with men

Holly B. Fontenot, Heidi C. Fantasia, Ralph Vetters, Gregory D. Zimet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Background There is a disparity in HPV vaccination rates in particular among young men who have sex with men (YMSM) and until very recently there has been a dearth of research examining factors related to HPV vaccination for YMSM. The purpose of this study was to elicit YMSM's beliefs about HPV and the HPV vaccine as well as describe perceived barriers and facilitators of vaccine initiation and completion. Methods A qualitative, descriptive study that utilized a focus group design was conducted among an urban and racially diverse sample of YMSM. Questionnaire data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and focus group data were analyzed using content analysis. Findings 34 YMSM with a mean age of 20.8 years participated. The sample was diverse, with the largest proportion of youth identifying as Black (35.4%). Over 90% reported having an annual exam each year, 61.8% reported obtaining a flu vaccine during the past year, and 58.8% reported initiating the HPV vaccine 3-dose series. Themes identified included low HPV knowledge and awareness, positive vaccine beliefs, perceived stigmas, and HPV vaccine facilitators. Participants identified 3 ways health providers/ researchers could facilitate vaccination: creative use of mobile technology, bundling vaccination with other health services, and increasing HPV and HPV vaccine awareness. Conclusions Our findings point to some clear avenues to pursue in research and practice to improve HPV vaccination rates among YMSM, including increased use of mobile health strategies, making HPV vaccination a co-occurring part of other health-related services (e.g., HIV testing), and providing information on the relevance of HPV and HPV vaccination to YMSM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6209-6216
Number of pages8
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 7 2016


  • HPV
  • Human papillomavirus
  • MSM
  • Vaccine
  • YMSM
  • Young men who have sex with men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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