Background: In October 2009, a quadrivalent vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) was licensed in the United States for males aged 9 to 26 years. The attitudes and beliefs of parents play a critical role in uptake of this vaccine because parental consent is typically required for adolescent HPV vaccination. This study aimed to determine attitudes about, and intention for, male HPV vaccination among a national sample of parents and to evaluate the effect of different types of messages regarding benefits of male HPV vaccination on these outcomes.
Methods: A nationally representative sample of parents completed a cross-sectional survey shortly before licensure of the HPV vaccine for men. Parents of boys (n = 1178) were asked questions about future intent to vaccinate their sons against HPV after randomly receiving one of 2 different messages about the potential benefits of male HPV vaccination.
Results: Survey completion rate was 62%. Most parents (90%) believed that male HPV vaccination was generally important. However, only 51% of parents of boys intended to have their own sons vaccinated against HPV. The strongest predictors of vaccination intent included high perceived benefits of being vaccinated and low perceived barriers to vaccination. Black race and having less than a high school education were also associated with higher vaccination intent, but only among parents of adolescents (9-17 years), not among parents of younger boys (0-8 years). There were no differences in parental intentions or beliefs between the different message groups.
Conclusions: There is a significant discrepancy between parents' general support of male HPV vaccination and their intentions to have their own sons vaccinated. Our results highlight the beliefs and attitudes associated with increased parental intention for male HPV vaccination.