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Jul. 31 2009 - 7:17 am | 16 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Daily Dosage: Dudes don’t know a smear about HPV

57576251MT018_Despite_HardsLadies, give it to your man. A lesson in HPV prevention, that is. Girls have long been the target of HPV-related activism and medical intervention. So maybe that explains why none of their boyfriends know what the hell it is.

That’s the message from researchers at several Massachusetts facilities, who led six focus groups of 45 male college students to test knowledge of HPV (human papillomavirus). For the record, the illness is the most common STI in the United States and is a causative factor in cervical cancer, anal and penile cancer. It’s also estimated to already infect around 70 percent of sexually active dudes between 18 and 45. That adds up to a lot of warts.

But I’m a little miffed that so few are checking their goods for signs of damage. Among the focus group results:

-None of the men associated HPV with penile or anal cancer

-Most incorrectly thought that HPV symptoms included “weird discharge” and burning genitals.

-Many had no idea that men were even susceptible to HPV, or didn’t think it was a severe illness (and I quote: “It’s more of a joke.”)

-A majority agreed with the statement that HPV was “a women’s disease.”

I don’t want to hate on men, but these results are outrageous. Maybe we can blame lagging sex education classes for some of the ignorance, but here’s the real gem: when asked whether women should receive the HPV vaccine, most men said yes. But when polled about their own willingness to consider the new male version (which is being tested for men aged 18 to 26) “apprehension was voiced about cost, accessibility, safety, and side effects.”


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    This is outrageous, but not surprising. If you polled an equal number of college students (or even adults) about chlamydia or even herpes, how many of them know about them or understand how to protect against them?

    They likely don’t see HPV as severe — because maybe it isn’t, in its symptoms, until or unless it causes cancer. That’s pretty severe.

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