HPV16 and HPV18 seropositivity and DNA detection among men who have sex with men: a cross-sectional study conducted in a sexual health clinic in London.

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Men who have sex with men (MSM) have an increased risk of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and related diseases compared with men who have sex exclusively with women. From April 2018, there has been a phased roll-out of HPV vaccination offered to MSM aged up to 45 years old who are attending sexual health clinics and HIV clinics in England. The vaccine is most effective if delivered prior to HPV infection. We estimated the proportion of MSM with no current vaccine-type infection and no serological evidence of prior infection, in a study undertaken prior to vaccine introduction.We conducted a cross-sectional study among 484 MSM aged 18-40 years old who attended a sexual health clinic in London between 2010 and 2012. We estimated the prevalence of current and past infection by testing for HPV DNA in anogenital samples and for serum antibodies to HPV16 and HPV18.The median age was 30 years (IQR 25-35). The prevalence of HPV16 and HPV18 DNA was 13.2% and 6.2%, respectively. Seropositivity for HPV16 and HPV18 was 28.5% and 17.1%, respectively, with 11.4% seropositive for both types. Seropositivity for the same HPV type was strongly associated with anogenital DNA detection. 279 MSM (57.6%) tested negative for both HPV16 and HPV18 serology and were DNA negative for these two types; only 5 MSM (1.0%) were seropositive and DNA positive for both HPV types.This is the first study to determine both the prevalence of HPV DNA in anogenital samples and HPV seroprevalence among MSM attending a sexual health clinic in the UK. Over half of MSM in this study had no evidence of a previous or current infection with either of the high-risk HPV types included in the quadrivalent vaccine, which supports the rationale for opportunistic HPV vaccination of MSM attending sexual health clinics.

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