June 2, 2009

Self-interest motivates men for HPV shot

Telling men that getting a human papillomavirus vaccine would help protect their female partners wouldn't convince them to get the shot, U.S. researchers say.

Mary Gerend, assistant professor at the Florida State University College of Medicine, and Jessica Barley, a 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 could help protect their female sexual partners.

The HPV vaccine has been approved for women since 2006 and a vaccine for men is likely to be approved in the near future, the researchers said.

You can probably interpret this finding in a number of ways, Gerend said in a statement. 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.

The study was published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Gerend also presented the findings at the annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Montreal.