Background: We examined the baseline prevalence of penile, scrotal, perineal/perianal, and intra-anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seronegative men who have sex with men (MSM).
Methods: Data were analyzed from 602 MSM aged 16-27 years with ≤ 5 lifetime sexual partners. Serum samples were tested for antibodies to HPV6/11/16/18. Swab samples were collected separately from several anogenital areas for detection of HPV6/11/16/18/31/33/35/39/45/51/52/56/58/59 DNA.
Results: The prevalence of any tested HPV type was 18.5% at the penis, 17.1% at the scrotum, 33.0% at the perineal/perianal region, 42.4% in the anal canal, and 48.0% at any site. Overall, 415 MSM (69.7%) were negative to HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18 at enrollment by both serology and DNA detection. Men residing in Europe and Latin America had significantly increased risk of HPV infection at external genital sites and the anal canal compared to men from Australia. Tobacco use and greater number of lifetime sexual partners was associated with higher HPV infection prevalence.
Conclusions: The prevalence of HPV infection is high among young sexually active MSM, with the anal canal being the most common site of infection. Lifetime number of sexual partners was the most important modifiable risk factor for anogenital HPV infection.