Christy A study presented at the 16th AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial\/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held from September 29 to October 2, 2023, has revealed significant gaps in awareness and knowledge regarding the link between the human papillomavirus (HPV) and various types of cancer among Hispanic and Latino men who identify as sexual minorities.\r\n\r\nREAD:\u201cDeadly Disease Strikes California Countertop Workers\u201d\r\n\r\nShannon M. Christy, Ph.D., an assistant member in the Division of Population Science at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, emphasized that sexual minority men are at a higher risk of HPV infections and subsequent HPV-related health issues, including anal cancer. She noted that prior research has shown suboptimal HPV vaccine uptake among young adults, including sexual minority men, highlighting the need for additional efforts to ensure that all eligible individuals can benefit from this effective cancer prevention method.\r\nChristy\r\nChristy and her collaborators had previously identified a lack of Spanish-language materials related to HPV vaccination for young adults and a dearth of culturally adapted materials for Hispanic and Latino sexual and gender minority community members. To reduce HPV-related cancer disparities, it is crucial that information is not only available but also relevant, actionable, and accessible in the preferred language of the age-eligible population, Christy stressed.\r\n\r\nBetween August 2021 and August 2022, the study aimed to assess awareness levels regarding HPV, HPV-related cancers, beliefs about HPV vaccination, and perceived risk among young adult Spanish-speaking sexual minority men residing in Florida and Puerto Rico. The study aimed to inform the development of an HPV vaccine education intervention for a future trial.\r\n\r\nThe research team administered a Spanish-language online survey to individuals aged 18 to 26 who were born male, identified as Hispanic or Latino, had engaged in sexual activity with a man or were attracted to men, and were proficient in reading and understanding Spanish. The presented results focused on 102 participants who had not received the HPV vaccine.\r\nKey findings from the study included:\r\n\r\n \tApproximately 56% of respondents provided incorrect or "do not know" responses when asked if most sexually active individuals are at risk of being infected with HPV.\r\n \tAbout 20% of respondents responded incorrectly or "do not know" when questioned about whether men can be infected with HPV.\r\n \tWhile 69% of participants correctly identified that HPV can cause genital warts, over half provided incorrect or "do not know" responses regarding the link between HPV and anal (54%), oral (61%), or penile (65%) cancers.\r\n\r\nChristy emphasized that there is a significant need to raise public awareness about the connection between HPV and HPV-related cancers. This awareness should extend to the fact that HPV is common and affects individuals regardless of gender, biological sex assigned at birth, or sexual orientation. Moreover, efforts are required to promote the efficacy of the HPV vaccine in preventing HPV-related cancers.\r\n\r\nAmong the study participants, 56% reported having heard of the HPV vaccine, but only 19% mentioned that a healthcare provider had recommended it to them. Christy highlighted the importance of educating eligible adults about HPV and the vaccine, especially when they are still within the age range for catch-up vaccination.\r\n\r\nConcerns about cost were cited as a barrier to receiving the HPV vaccine by nearly half of the respondents. While 56% of participants reported little to no concern about the vaccine's safety, 25% expressed significant concerns.\r\n\r\nThe study underscores the need for research efforts to overcome obstacles hindering HPV vaccination among young adults, especially those disproportionately affected by HPV-related cancers. Additionally, the study highlights the importance of healthcare providers recommending the HPV vaccine to eligible individuals.\r\n\r\nCurrent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocate routine HPV vaccination for adolescents around the ages of 11 or 12, with young adults up to age 26 encouraged to receive the vaccine if they missed it earlier. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the HPV vaccine for individuals ages 9-45, underscoring the importance of young adults being aware of their HPV vaccination history and discussing vaccination with a healthcare provider.\r\n\r\nChristy emphasized the need for healthcare providers to recommend the HPV vaccine, as prior studies have consistently demonstrated the significance of provider recommendations in HPV vaccine receipt. However, many young adults do not have a regular healthcare provider, which poses another obstacle.\r\n\r\nThe study also highlighted that fewer than half of survey participants who had a primary care provider had disclosed their sexual orientation to their provider. This may be attributed to prior experiences of discrimination, emphasizing the importance of healthcare providers and healthcare systems providing culturally relevant care.\r\n\r\nWhile this study focused on Hispanic\/Latino sexual minority men, it acknowledges the existence of HPV-related disparities among other sexual and gender minority population groups. Further research is needed to understand the HPV education needs and preferences of various young adult population groups, especially those facing disparities. The study's limitations include its cross-sectional nature and its focus on Florida and Puerto Rico.