What do gay men know about human papillomavirus? Australian gay men's knowledge and experience of anal cancer screening and human papillomavirus

Sex Transm Dis. 2007 Mar;34(3):170-3. doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000230436.83029.ce.


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine levels of experience and knowledge concerning anal dysplasia, anal Pap smear tests, and human papillomavirus (HPV) among gay and other homosexually active men.

Study design: Three hundred eighty-four men attending a large gay community event in Melbourne completed a short survey.

Results: Ninety-two percent identified as gay and 4.8% as bisexual. A total of 6.4% were HIV-positive and a further 3.5% did not know their HIV status. On a range of measures, it was clear that the men knew very little about anal cancer (19% scored zero on a 12-point knowledge scale) and virtually nothing about HPV (47% scored zero on an 8-point knowledge scale). A total of 55.1% had never heard of an anal Pap smear and 44.8% had ever heard of HPV; 56.4% did not know whether it affected men and/or women.

Conclusions: The test for anal dysplasia is still largely unknown among Australian gay men and they currently have poor sense of personal susceptibility to the disease. Health education strategies are suggested to improve this situation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anus Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Anus Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Anus Neoplasms / virology
  • Australia
  • Carcinoma in Situ / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma in Situ / prevention & control*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / virology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomaviridae* / pathogenicity
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Risk Factors