$33K NIH Grant to Encourage Gay Men to Get HPV Vaccine to Prevent Anal Cancer

By Melanie Arter | February 13, 2015 | 2:15 PM EST

A child health nurse holds up a vial and box for the HPV vaccine, brand name Gardasil, at a clinic in Kinston, N.C. on Monday March 5, 2012. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The National Institutes of Health has awarded $33,037 in taxpayer funds to the University of South Florida to study factors that can increase vaccination among gay men for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) to prevent them from developing anal cancer.

“Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection that can lead to a variety of cancers affecting women and men. Currently there is a vaccine available that can help to prevent these infections. The primary purpose of this study is to determine the factors that can be used to increase vaccine uptake among a high-risk population of vaccine-eligible men,” the grant stated.

“Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at increased risk of anal cancer as a result of prevalent anal human papillomavirus,” it stated.

“Prophylactic vaccination is a potentially effective public health strategy for preventing anal cancer. A quadrivalent vaccine is currently approved for the prevention of anal cancer and anal squamous intraepithelial lesions in both males and females. As a result, routine vaccination is recommended for all MSM up through at 26,” the grant said.

The long-term goal of the research is to reduce “incidence of anal cancer among MSM by preventing infection of HPV types - 16 and -18 through vaccination.”

According to the grant, public health educators have limited information to tailor health education messages and interventions aimed at increasing HPV vaccinations among adult gay men.

“According to this model, health education interventions must address the salient HPV-related beliefs and perceptions expressed by young MSM in order to effectively promote vaccination,” the grant said.

“The proposed research will reinforce the applicants training plan in cancer epidemiology, the public health needs of Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations, and the use of qualitative methods in health education research,” it stated.

“Through a combination of coursework, directed study, and mentorship from his sponsorship team, the proposed training plan will ensure that the applicant will obtain the level of knowledge and skills necessary to build a program of research that will address the critical public health needs of LGBT populations,” it added.

The project started on May 1, 2013 and ends on April 30, 2015. The budget start date was listed as May 1, 2014 and the end date is listed as April 30, 2015.

CNSNews.com contacted Christopher Wheldon, project leader for the grant, for comment, but no reply was given by press time.

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