Date of Conferral
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a preventable, sexually transmitted infection whose prevalence has been rising dramatically among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States since 2008. The HPV infection rate for MSM is rising even faster for MSM who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and for those who have developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). It is not clear whether MSM in general and MSM with HIV have the knowledge necessary to prevent infection of themselves and their partners. This phenomenological study explored the knowledge, health perceptions, attitudes, and norms of the community of MSM and HIV-positive MSM relative to HPV, using private, semi-structured, detailed interviews with 37 HIV-positive MSM between 18 and 26 years of age; interviews were conducted at 3 outpatient clinics and 2 private medical practices. Interview transcripts were analyzed; these findings revealed that the study population of HIV-positive MSM had a basic understanding of HPV but knew little about the transmission of HPV or about the availability and cost of HPV vaccines. This study promotes positive social change by identifying specific opportunities to improve health education policy and programs targeting HIV-positive MSM. It also supports primary prevention efforts that have the potential to be life-saving. Through educating MSMs, the potential exists to reach more MSMs with primary prevention life-saving efforts. Study recommendations include developing inclusive education programs addressing different aspects of, and behavioral approaches to, the reduction of HPV infection risk; further exploration of a cost-benefit analysis of the HPV vaccine; and support for policy change regarding insurance coverage for male HPV vaccine in the United States.