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Health Commun. 2016 Dec;31(12):1527-38. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2015.1089466. Epub 2016 Apr 28.

Giving Boys a Shot: The HPV Vaccine's Portrayal in Canadian Newspapers.

Perez S1,2, Fedoruk C1,2,3, Shapiro GK1,2, Rosberger Z1,2,4,5.

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a Department of Psychology , McGill University.
b Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital.
c Department of Anthropology , McGill University.
d Department of Psychiatry and Oncology , McGill University.
e Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research and Louise Granofsky Psychosocial Oncology Program, Jewish General Hospital.


In January 2012, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) of Canada recommended that males aged 9-26 years receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to protect against genital warts and HPV-associated cancers. Estimated HPV vaccine uptake rates for Canadian males are extremely low. Using a content analysis of Canadian newspaper articles, this study investigated what information about the HPV vaccine was relayed to the public, and how this content was portrayed following the 2012 male HPV vaccine recommendation. A search was conducted using Proquest Canadian Newsstand Complete for newspaper articles published between January 1, 2012, and September 1, 2014. Researchers coded 232 articles on several relevant dimensions: article information; epidemiological information; public policy information; article topic; article and title tone; and informant testimony. The majority of articles (93%) mentioned that girls are eligible for the HPV vaccine, whereas only half (49%) mentioned male eligibility. While most articles associated HPV with cervical cancer (85%), fewer indicated its relation to other HPV-associated cancers (59%) or genital warts (52%). Most articles (60%) were positive or neutral (22%) in tone toward the HPV vaccine, while few had mixed messages (11%) or were negative (6%). Less than 5% of articles reported on issues of morality, suggesting that fears that the HPV vaccine causes promiscuity have largely subsided. Notably, article tone toward male vaccination became progressively more positive over time. However, half of the articles did not mention the vaccine's approval for males, and articles tended to report HPV's relation to cervical cancer over other HPV-associated cancers. The Canadian public may thus be unaware of male eligibility and the importance of HPV vaccine for males. The collaboration of researchers, health care providers, and policymakers with journalists is critical in order to disseminate complete and accurate HPV and HPV vaccine information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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