Background: Males play an important role in HPV transmission; however, very little research has examined malesí psychosocial responses to an HPV infection. Testing positive for HPV may have adverse emotional consequences for men. We explore these emotional responses in a unique study that assesses menís response to receiving an HPV test result.
Objectives: To examine differences in emotional responses among men who self-reported HPV test results.
Methods: Men (N=360) enrolled in a natural history study of HPV completed a computer-assisted-survey instrument assessing their psychosocial responses after receiving HPV test results. Analyses were conducted among men reporting positive test results (n=117). Ordinary least squares regression was used to determine the association between a measure of emotional response and theoretical predictors, including perceived threat (perceived susceptibility to and perceived severity of HPV/genital warts, and a host of HPV-related consequences), having a main sex partner, and reporting HPV symptoms, while controlling for sociodemographic factors.
Results: As anticipated, HPV+ men exhibited more negative emotions regarding their HPV test result than did HPV- men (i.e., feeling scared, angry, shocked, confused, depressed or guilty). Higher levels of negative emotional response were associated with perceived susceptibility (?=0.29, p>0.01) and ever having had HPV symptoms (?=0.19, p=0.04). Conversely, men who reported having a main sex partner were less likely to report negative emotional responses after receiving their HPV test result (?= -0.17, p>0.05). No association was found between perceived severity and emotional response (p> .11).
Conclusions: These findings highlight some of the complex issues that may occur with an HPV+ test result in men. Additional research will need to assess subsequent behaviors among these study participants.
Implications for Programs, Policy, and/or Research: Knowledge of menís emotional and cognitive responses to HPV infection will assist in framing educational and health messages when the HPV vaccine is approved for males.