HPV vaccine for boysHPV (human papilloma virus) is passed during intercourse or other sexual contact, including oral sex. Girls can choose to be vaccinated against some strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer, but girls are not the only ones at risk. Boys can also contract cancers related to HPV so vaccination of males is also suggested. Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine recently published a study in the Clinical Pediatrics journal. The study claims low-income heads of family are supportive of the vaccine in boys, but these same families were not a receptive when asked if the vaccine should be required before starting school.

Interviews were conducted with parents and guardians of preteen and teen boys ages 11 to 17. The interviews took place in the doctor’s office during a schedule office visit. All appointments were attended between December 2011 and December 2012. Before being asked to take part in the interview, patients and their parents/guardians were read information on the HPV vaccination. The information explained the vaccination and possible implications of being infected with HPV.

The Latino population was most apt to support HPV vaccination of male children with an 86% support rate. Next were African Americans with a 73% support rate. Rounding out the interview results were Caucasians who supported the HPV vaccination of male children just 44% of the time. When the question of school mandate came up, low-income minority parents/guardians were more likely to support school –mandated HPV vaccinations for boys than white parents/guardians. The majority of parents/guardians agreed that school mandates should cross genders, making vaccinations required for both male and female children. Parents also requested additional information on HPV infection in boys.

Larger studies need to be completed before any official statements or suggested changes in school mandated vaccinations can be made. Future studies need to address parental attitudes about current HPV vaccination recommendations and the percentage of children/teens who actually receive the vaccinations voluntarily.

Source: R. B. Perkins, H. Tipton, E. Shu, C. Marquez, M. Belizaire, C. Porter, J. A. Clark, N. Pierre-Joseph. Attitudes Toward HPV Vaccination Among Low-Income and Minority Parents of Sons: A Qualitative Analysis. Clinical Pediatrics, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0009922812473775