Reducing HPV Associated Cancers and Disparities: Engaging African American Men to Develop a Culturally-Appropriate Program that Addresses their Needs

Am J Health Educ. 2021;52(4):194-206. doi: 10.1080/19325037.2021.1930614. Epub 2021 Jun 10.


Background: The Healthy Men, Health Communities program aims to improve preventive behaviors among African American men to reduce HPV-related cancer disparities.

Purpose: We describe the development of an educational intervention using cultural-targeting strategies (i.e., linguistics, peripherals, evidence, socio-culture, and constituent-involving).

Methods: After building capacity of community-based organization (CBO) leaders as research team members, we conducted 3 focus groups, 30 surveys, and a community review and program evaluation with African American men.

Results: Focus group themes were: 1) The Known and Unknown of Cancer, HPV, and the vaccine; (2) Personal experiences with cancer were commonplace; (3) Barriers to Engaging HPV Cancer Preventive Behaviors; (4) Multi-Modal Strategies are needed to improve preventive behaviors; and (5) Actual versus Preferred Sources of Information. Survey data indicated men desired information on penile (52%) and oral cancers (48%). The preferred education format was a summit with speakers on various topics (96%). Post-summit evaluation indicated majority of males intended to get screened (73%), eat healthier (77%), and exercise more (64%). About 40% reported getting themselves, children, or grandchildren the HPV vaccine.

Discussion: Our program demonstrated acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary efficacy. This work warrants further study as a potential program to improve HPV preventive behaviors among African American men.

Keywords: African American; Cancer and Cancer Education; Community-Based Participatory Research; Disparities; Human Papillomavirus (HPV); Men’s Health Issues.