Dr Anna Beavis Discusses Gender Differences in HPV Vaccination

March 26, 2018

One in 5 parents of boys said the main reason that they haven’t vaccinated their sons for HPV was because they didn’t receive a recommendation for the vaccination, compared with 1 in 10 girls, said Anna Beavis, MD, MPH, a gynecologic oncologist fellow at Johns Hopkins University.

One in 5 parents of boys said the main reason that they haven’t vaccinated their sons for HPV was because they didn’t receive a recommendation for the vaccination, compared with 1 in 10 girls, said Anna Beavis, MD, MPH, a gynecologic oncologist fellow at Johns Hopkins University.

Transcript

What gender differences have you identified in HPV vaccination?

We did the study because we know boys are less likely to get vaccinated with the HPV vaccination compared to girls in the United States, although both are actually lagging behind the recommended vaccination rates in other westernized nations and the goal for the United States. Mainly we saw that for both, lack of necessity was a common reason as well as lack of knowledge about the vaccine.

Broken down by gender, where we saw the big differences, where that parents of boys much more commonly reported that lack of recommendation from a physician was the biggest driver. One in 5 parents of boys says the main reason that they haven’t vaccinated was because they didn’t receive a recommendation for the vaccination, compared to 1 in 10 girls. We also saw that parents of girls were more likely to report concerns about safety and side effects and a concern that their child wasn’t sexually active yet as their main reason for lack of vaccination compared to boys.

What interventions are needed to close this gap between genders?

I think the biggest intervention that providers — and that includes nurses, advanced practitioners, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, as well as physicians – can really do is provide a strong, clear recommendation that the vaccine provides cancer prevention, and it’s not just for girls, it’s also for boys. It is effective against cancers that affect both genders as well as cancers that specifically affect girls and women.