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Should Kiwi men be next in line for HPV vaccine?

Should Kiwi men be next in line for HPV vaccine? – New study to investigate

A newly funded study announced today could help determine whether to extend coverage of the HPV vaccine to New Zealand men.

Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, Director of Immunisation Research and Vaccinology at the University of Auckland’s Immunisation Advisory Centre, has received a Feasibility Study grant from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) to explore the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) in New Zealand men for the first time.

As well as causing cervical cancer in women, HPV is associated with other cancers including cancers of the mouth, throat, penis and anus in men, with a particularly high incidence in men who have sex with men (MSM).

Participants for the study will be recruited from primary health care and outpatient settings in Auckland, with a focus on three subpopulations: HIV positive MSM, other MSM, and heterosexual males.

Dr Petousis-Harris says the incidence of HPV-related cancers among men is increasing overseas and while the pattern in New Zealand may be similar to Australia, this is not known. Of particular concern is that the incidence of anal cancer in MSM is up to twenty-fold higher than in the general population.

“Many issues relating to HPV and vaccination in males are poorly understood in the New Zealand context. There are no data on HPV prevalence among males, and little understanding of HPV awareness and vaccine acceptability among men for a vaccine promoted to date as an intervention to prevent cervical cancer,” says Dr Petousis-Harris.

The study’s estimates of HPV prevalence and likely response rates to vaccination are intended to inform the design of a larger study. It is one of seven Feasibility Study Awards to be announced as part of the HRC’s 2014 funding round. The full list of successful applicants is listed at the end of this release. To read lay summaries of the projects funded, go to

Feasibility Study Awards 2014

Professor Richard Beasley, Medical Research Institute of New Zealand
Venous thromboembolism prevention in lower leg injury requiring immobilisation
12 months, $145,460

Professor Julian Crane, University of Otago, Wellington
Prevention of the common cold with topical nasal Carrageenan
6 months, $98,614

Professor Bob Hancox, University of Otago, Dunedin
Beta-blockers in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Feasibility of a randomised controlled trial
12 months, $149,956

Dr Rinki Murphy, the University of Auckland
Factors affecting gut microbiota establishment and function during infancy
12 months, $150,000

Dr Helen Pertousis-Harris, the University of Auckland
Feasibility study of human papillomavirus infection, awareness and vaccine acceptability in men
12 months, $149,588

Associate Professor Cathy Stinear, the University of Auckland
Accelerating recovery after stroke with neuromodulation: A feasibility study
12 months, $149,950

Professor Robert Young, Auckland District Health Board
Simvastatin treatment for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and elevated C-reactive protein
12 months, $149,660


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