Human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause various diseases; low-risk strains can cause genital warts, whereas high-risk strains can cause cervical cancer and cancer of the vulva in women and cancers of the penis, anus, and oropharynx in men. Although HPV affects men, literature has reported that the prevalence of HPV vaccination is far lower among men than among women. Few studies have examined perceptions and acceptability of the HPV vaccine among men, particularly in Chinese communities. In this study, the acceptability of the HPV vaccine to men was investigated using Hong Kong men as a case group. A qualitative research approach was adopted. Thirty-nine men were purposively sampled for the in-depth individual semistructured interviews from June to October 2017 to investigate their perceptions of the HPV vaccine and the barriers for them to receive the vaccination. Limited knowledge and awareness of HPV-related issues, low perceived risk of HPV infection, perceived association between HPV vaccine and promiscuity, and lack of accessible official information on HPV-related topics were identified as the key barriers. These barriers intermingled with the sociocultural environment, cultural values of sexuality, and patriarchal gender values. HPV vaccine is shown to be socially constructed as a vaccine for women exclusively and for promiscuity. The participants were discouraged from receiving HPV vaccination because of its signaling of socially deviant promiscuity. Cultural taboo on sex served as a social oppression of open discussion about HPV vaccine and affected the participants’ perceived need of vaccination. Perceived insignificance of reproductive organs also influenced the participants’ perceived need of vaccination.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Hong Kong
- HPV vaccine