Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original article
Human papillomavirus vaccine uptake among young gay and bisexual men who have sex with men with a time-limited targeted vaccination programme through sexual health clinics in Melbourne in 2017
  1. Launcelot McGrath1,2,
  2. Christopher K Fairley1,3,
  3. Eoin F Cleere1,2,
  4. Catriona S Bradshaw1,3,
  5. Marcus Y Chen1,3,
  6. Eric P F Chow1,3
  1. 1 Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 School of Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3 Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Eric P F Chow, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia; echow{at}


Objective In mid-2017, the Victorian Government funded a free time-limited human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination catch-up programme for gay and bisexual men who have sex with men (MSM) aged up to 26 years through sexual health clinics or other immunisation centres. We aimed to examine the uptake of the HPV vaccine among young MSM attending the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC).

Methods MSM aged ≤26 attending MSHC between 27 April 2017 and 31 December 2017 were included in the analysis. HPV vaccine uptake was calculated based on the first consultation of each patient during the period. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to examine the association between vaccine uptake and patient factors.

Results There were 2108 MSM aged ≤26 who attended MSHC over the study period, with 7.6% (n=161) reporting previous HPV vaccination. Of the 1947 eligible men, 1134 (58.2%, 95% CI 56.0% to 60.4%) were offered the vaccine by the clinicians, and 830 men received it on the day. The vaccine coverage among all eligible MSM was 42.6% (95% CI 40.4% to 44.9%; 830 of 1947) and among MSM who were offered the vaccine by the clinicians was 73.2% (95% CI 70.5% to 75.8%; 830 of 1134). Men with a history of genital warts (adjusted OR (aOR)=3.11, 95%CI 1.39 to 6.99) and those who had >4male partners in the last 12 months (aOR=1.38, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.85) were more likely to receive the HPV vaccine on the day. 304 men declined the vaccine; most men did not specify the reason (31.3%, n=95), while 27.3% (n=83) needed time to think.

Conclusion Although vaccine uptake was 73.2% among those offered, the actual coverage of those eligible remained unsatisfactory (42.6%) in a sexual health clinic. This highlights a clinic-based targeted MSM programme may not reach sufficiently high vaccine coverage to provide MSM with the same vaccine benefits as heterosexuals.

  • vaccination
  • HPV
  • gay men
  • prevention
  • MSM

Statistics from


  • Handling editor Jackie A Cassell

  • Contributors EPFC contributed to the conception of this study. LM conducted the literature review, performed data analysis and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. EPFC provided statistical advice. All authors were involved in data interpretation, revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content and approved the final version.

  • Funding EPFC is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship (1091226).

  • Competing interests EPFC has received educational grants from Seqirus Australia to assist with education, training and for academic purposes in the area of HPV. EPFC has received travel grants from Seqirus Australia, presenting the finding from this study at the 16th Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) National Immunisation Conference in Adelaide, Australia. EPFC has been the principal investigator on Merck Investigator Initiated Studies and received funding to conduct HPV studies. CKF has received honoraria from CSL Biotherapies and Merck, and research funding from CSL Biotherapies. CKF owns shares in CSL Biotherapies. CKF, MYC and CSB have been investigators for investigator-initiated research grants from Merck Sharp & Dohme.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was obtained from the Alfred Hospital Ethics Committee, Melbourne, Australia (project number 542/17).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.