Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men experience several disparities related to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, including high incidence rates of anal cancer. Although the HPV vaccine is currently recommended for young adults, HPV vaccine coverage is modest among young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (YGBMSM).
We describe the design and methods for a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to rigorously evaluate Outsmart HPV, a population-targeted, individually tailored, Web-based HPV vaccination intervention for YGBMSM. The RCT is designed to determine the efficacy of the intervention, the mechanism by which the intervention has an effect (ie, mediation), and whether efficacy varies by participant characteristics (ie, moderation).
Outsmart HPV was previously developed and pilot-tested. This study is a 3-arm prospective RCT that will enroll a projected 1995 YGBMSM who are aged 18 to 25 years, live in the United States, and have not received any doses of the HPV vaccine. Participants will be recruited by means of paid advertisements on social media sites and randomized to receive (1) standard information on the Web about HPV vaccine (control group), (2) Outsmart HPV content on the Web with monthly unidirectional vaccination reminders sent via text messages, or (3) Outsmart HPV content on the Web with monthly interactive vaccination reminders sent via text messages. Participants will complete Web-based surveys at 4 time points during the study: baseline, immediately after engaging with Web-based content, 3 months after randomization, and 9 months after randomization. Primary outcomes will include both HPV vaccine initiation (ie, receipt of 1 or more doses of the HPV vaccine) and completion (receipt of all 3 doses recommended for this age range). We will examine constructs from the intervention’s theoretical framework as potential mediators and demographic and health-related characteristics as potential moderators of intervention effects.
The institutional review board at The Ohio State University has approved the study. Materials have been developed and finalized for all study groups. Recruitment for the RCT began in fall 2019.
If shown to be efficacious, Outsmart HPV has the potential to fill an important gap by promoting HPV vaccination among a population at increased risk of HPV infection and HPV-related disease. NCT04032106;

©Paul L L Reiter, Amy L Gower, Dale E Kiss, Molly A Malone, Mira L Katz, Jose A Bauermeister, Abigail B Shoben, Electra D Paskett, Annie-Laurie McRee. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (, 24.02.2020.