A new study conducted by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) explores the feelings of low income and minority parents/guardians about vaccinating boys against the Human Papilloma Virus (
Researchers interviewed 120 parents and legal guardians of males between the ages of 11 and 17 who accompanied them to doctors' appointments. All of the participants were read a short educational paragraph explaining what HPV is and information regarding the HPV vaccination prior to answering questions.
The investigators found that the majority of participants saw more benefits than barriers to giving their sons the vaccine. Additionally, they discovered that the most prominent obstacle to vaccination was lack of information about the long-term efficacy and safety of the vaccine, specifically for males.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the vaccine in 2009 for use in males between the ages of 9 and 26. The shot is administered as a preventative measure against genital warts that may develop after exposure to HPV. Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a recommendation stating that boys aged 11 and 12 should be vaccinated, and those between the ages of 13 and 21 who did not previously receive it should as well.
According to the FDA, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. and most genital warts are caused by HPV infection. The CDC reports that HPV is so common that at least 50 percent of sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives.
The BUSM study also reveals that there are differing attitudes regarding whether the male HPV vaccine should be required by schools. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of African Americans and 86 percent of Latinos surveyed felt that the vaccine should be mandated. Only 44 percent of the Caucasians interviewed support it. However, all agreed that mandates should be for both genders.