Assessing knowledge of human papillomavirus among men who have sex with men (MSM) using targeted dating applications

Vaccine. 2022 Aug 26;40(36):5376-5383. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2022.07.048. Epub 2022 Aug 6.


Background: The incidence of HPV-related oropharyngeal and anal cancer has been increasing significantly over the past 30 years, especially among males. This study sought to better understand the level of knowledge of HPV-related disease in the LGBTQ+ community, and serve as a method to increase awareness for HPV vaccination as a safe and effective method for cancer prevention.

Methods: SCRUFF and Jack'd are geosocial networking and dating mobile applications for men who have sex with men (MSM). All users of the applications who were located in the US at the time of the study were invited to participate in a survey on HPV knowledge, the HPV vaccine, and vaccination status. The Pearson test was used to identify possible associations.

Results: Half of the HPV vaccine-eligible respondents reported having received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine, while only 37.9% of the individuals aged 9-26 reported being vaccinated against HPV. Among the unvaccinated, 63.3% reported being interested in future vaccination, or learning more about it. No significant differences were noted regarding vaccination status nor HPV knowledge between respondents from rural vs urban locations. Respondents from the South were the least knowledgeable about cancer and genital warts caused by HPV (79.4%, p < 0.01), and had the lowest rate of vaccination compared to other regions (18.5%, p < 0.01). More than half of respondents reported being either somewhat comfortable (15.8%) or very comfortable (42.2%) with receiving the HPV vaccine from a dentist.

Conclusions: The findings of this study identify demographic groups and geographical areas where preventive campaigns for HPV would be most needed. The findings highlight dental providers as an underutilized source of HPV education and vaccine recommendation. The study reveals opportunities to close gaps in care and knowledge, and points to future directions for research and development of effective interventions.

Keywords: HPV; Human papillomavirus; MSM; Men who have sex with men; Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alphapapillomavirus*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomaviridae
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines* / therapeutic use
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • Vaccination


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines