Study: Benefit to women not enough to sway men to get HPV vaccine

Mary Gerend, assistant professor of medical humanities and social sciences at the FSU College of Medicine, discusses the impetus behind her study. Credit: FSU Visual Media and PromotionsTALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Informing men that a new vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) would also help protect their female partners against developing cervical cancer from the sexually transmitted infection did not increase their interest in getting the vaccine, according to a new Florida State University study.

Mary Gerend, assistant professor of medical humanities and social sciences at the FSU College of Medicine, and Jessica Barley, a 2008 Florida State psychology graduate who based her honors thesis on the study, found that men are no more likely to want the vaccination just because they can help protect their female sexual partners. An HPV vaccine for women has been available since 2006, and a vaccine for men is likely to be approved in the near future.

"You can probably interpret this finding in a number of ways," Gerend said. "Thinking about the benefit to their own health — protection again rare genital cancers and genital warts — is all men really need to know; telling them all that extra stuff really isn’t going to push them one way or another."

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