Background Targeted human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine could prevent HPV-related cancers and genital warts among men who have sex with men (MSM). In order to develop effective vaccination programmes for MSM, it is crucial to understand their knowledge, beliefs about HPV and attitudes towards HPV vaccine.
Methods A systematic search of 10 databases examined articles investigating HPV knowledge and HPV-related perceptions among MSM. Each paper was assessed to identify potential research directions in the context of targeted HPV vaccination for MSM.
Results We identified 16 studies that included 5185 MSM and conducted mainly in North America. Generally, participants were over 26 years old, had poor-to-moderate knowledge about HPV and were not concerned about HPV-related diseases. Over a half of MSM were willing to accept HPV vaccine, if offered. However, there was large variability in HPV vaccine acceptability, partially due to inconsistencies in methods of ascertainment but also different levels of HPV vaccine awareness.
Conclusions Despite several misconceptions and poor knowledge of HPV infection, MSM might be receptive to HPV vaccination. However, further research is needed to identify which factors contribute to potential vaccine uptake in hypothetical MSM-targeted HPV vaccination. Future studies need to target those MSM with little sexual experience, who would benefit most from HPV vaccination.