The FDA has recently approved Gardasil for the prevention of anal cancer in people aged 9-26. Men who have sex with men (MSM) have disproportionately high rates of anal cancer and could benefit greatly from vaccination. Vaccine uptake among young MSM (YMSM) is poor, and little is known about factors associated with vaccine acceptance in this population. With the risk of anal cancer among MSM higher than the risk of cervical cancer among women before routine cytological screening was introduced, acceptance of a prophylactic vaccine in this subgroup is the most cost-effective and attainable strategy to greatly reduce the prevalence of anal cancer. While the investigators can assume the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has many acceptable concepts among these men, there are multiple barriers which may potentially interfere with their likelihood of initiating the vaccine series. Vaccine catch-up rates among women of a similar age has been poor, and there is no reason to expect this to be higher among men. One potential strategy to increase vaccine uptake in this catch-up group is to implement a patient-driven program to promote vaccination among men.
This project will contribute to the investigators understanding of how the investigators can utilize social networks to identify barriers to HPV vaccination among YMSM, and how to potentially influence a patient-driven vaccination effort to increase uptake among men in the catch-up age group. This research will inform future interventions to targeted populations that may be incorporated into online social networking websites to encourage HPV vaccination.