Background: Peer influence and social networking can change female adolescent and young adult behavior. Peer influence on preferences for male human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has not been documented. The primary aim of this study was to determine if women had preferences about male sexual partner HPV vaccination receipt.
Methods and findings: A prospective survey of women 18-26 years of age was conducted at an urban university student health clinic. Education about the two HPV vaccines, cervical cancer and genital warts was provided. Women self-reported their demographic and medical history data, as well as their own preferences for HPV vaccine and their preferences for their male partner HPV vaccine using a 5 point Likert scale. 601 women, mean age of 21.5 years (SD 2.4), participated between 2011 and 2012. Nearly 95% of respondents were heterosexual; condoms and contraceptives were used in over half of the population. Regardless of the woman's vaccination status, women had significantly higher (strongly agree/agree) preferences for the male partner being vaccinated with HPV4 than not caring if he was vaccinated (63.6% vs. 13.1%, p<0.001). This preference was repeated for sexual risk factors and past reproductive medical history. Women who received HPV4 compared to those choosing HPV2 had a significantly lower proportion of preferences for not caring if the male partner was vaccinated (13% vs. 22%, p = 0.015).
Conclusions: Women preferred a HPV vaccinated male partner. Peer messaging might change the male HPV vaccination uptake.
Alexander NM, Harper DM, Ahern DA, Comes JC, Smith MS, Heutinck MA, Handley SM. Women Have a Preference for Their Male Partner to be HPV Vaccinated. PLoS One. 2014; 9(5). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097119.