HealthDay News — Men are less knowledgeable than women about human papillomavirus (HPV), HPV vaccination, and the correlation between HPV and cancer, according to a research letter published online Sept. 16 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Ryan Suk, from UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston, and colleagues examined national-level estimates of HPV knowledge and receipt of HPV vaccine recommendations among individuals aged 18 to 26 years (vaccine-eligible), 27 to 45 years (vaccine-approved), and 46 years and older (not eligible/approved). Data were included for 2,564 men and 3,697 women.

The researchers found that fewer vaccine-eligible men than women were knowledgeable about HPV (53.6 versus 80.3 percent) and about the HPV vaccine (52.7 versus 79.0 percent). Overall, 60.1 and 31.6 percent of men and women, respectively, did not know that HPV causes cervical cancer; 92.2, 89.0, and 84.7 percent of men, respectively, and 79.4, 77.8, and 77.6 percent of women, respectively, did not know that anal, penile, and oral cancers are caused by HPV. Among HPV vaccine-approved individuals, fewer men than women knew about HPV (67.7 versus 86.4 percent) and HPV vaccination (56.1 versus 81.0 percent); more men than women were not knowledgeable about the correlation between HPV and cancers.

“Effective communication between patients and clinicians regarding the importance of HPV vaccination for cancer prevention is crucial to address this issue,” the authors write. “Educational campaigns that target both sexes and convey the benefits of HPV vaccination for cancer prevention are urgently needed to accelerate HPV vaccine initiation and completion in the United States.”

One author disclosed financial ties to Merck.

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