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Misinformation, Gendered Perceptions, and Low Healthcare Provider Communication Around HPV and the HPV Vaccine Among Young Sexual Minority Men in New York City: The P18 Cohort Study

Abstract

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection among adults in the United States, and can cause several types of cancer. This is of particular concern for sexual minority men, as their increased risk of HIV acquisition increases risk for HPV and HPV-associated cancers, particularly when coupled with low rates of HPV vaccination. As part of a larger study of the syndemic of HIV, substance use, and mental health among young sexual minority men in New York City, we sought to explore what sexual minority men know about HPV and the HPV vaccine, along with their experiences have been communicating about the virus and vaccine. We interviewed 38 young sexual minority men with diverse sociodemographic characteristics and identified three main themes: low knowledge about HPV infection and vaccination, highly gendered misconceptions about HPV only affecting women, and lack of communication from healthcare providers about HPV. The prevalence of incorrect HPV knowledge, coupled with inadequate education and vaccination in healthcare settings, indicates a missed opportunity for HPV prevention in a high-risk and high-need population.

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Funding

This work was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse [1R01DA0225537, 2R01DA025537] and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [R01AI132020, R56AI122000].

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Correspondence to Jessica Jaiswal.

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Jaiswal, J., LoSchiavo, C., Maiolatesi, A. et al. Misinformation, Gendered Perceptions, and Low Healthcare Provider Communication Around HPV and the HPV Vaccine Among Young Sexual Minority Men in New York City: The P18 Cohort Study. J Community Health (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-019-00784-w

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Keywords

  • Human papillomavirus
  • HPV
  • Health communication
  • Sexual minority men