An Exploratory Study of Japanese Fathers’ Knowledge of and Attitudes towards HPV and HPV Vaccination: Does Marital Status Matter?


Background: No studies on male attitudes towards HPV and HPV vaccination have been conducted in Japan,and little is known globally whether attitudes of single fathers differ to those living with a female partner. Thisexploratory study assessed whether Japanese fathers were likely to have their daughter vaccinated against HPVin a publically funded program and whether any differences existed regarding attitudes and knowledge aboutHPV according to marital status. Materials and
Methods: Subjects were 27 fathers (16 single; 11 married) whotook part in a study on HPV vaccine acceptability aimed at primary caregivers of girls aged 11-14 yrs in threeJapanese cities between July and December 2010.
Results: Knowledge about HPV was extremely poor (meanscore out of 13 being 2.74±3.22) with only one (3.7%) participant believing he had been infected with HPV andmost (81.4%) believing they had no or low future risk. No difference existed regarding knowledge or awareness ofHPV according to marital status. Concerning perceived risk for daughters, single fathers were significantly morelikely to believe their daughter was at risk for both HPV (87.5% versus 36.4%; p=0.01) and cervical cancer (75.0%versus 27.3%; p=0.02). Acceptability of free HPV vaccination was high at 92% with no difference according tomarital status, however single fathers were significantly more likely (p=0.01) to pay when vaccination came at acost. Concerns specific to single fathers included explaining the sexual nature of HPV and taking a daughter toa gynecologist to be vaccinated.
Conclusions: Knowledge about HPV among Japanese fathers is poor, but HPVvaccine acceptability is high and does not differ by marital status. Providing sexual health education in schoolsthat addresses lack of knowledge about HPV as well as information preferences expressed by single fathers, maynot only increase HPV vaccine acceptance, but also actively involve men in cervical cancer prevention strategies.However, further large-scale quantitative studies are needed.