Objective: Anal cancer and other diseases caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) are more common among people who are HIV-positive. To understand the potential role of HIV status in HPV prevention efforts, we examined HPV-related knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among HIV-positive and HIV-negative gay men.
Materials and methods: In January 2009, we interviewed a national sample of 247 adult gay men from the United States that included an oversample of HIV-positive men.
Results: Status of HIV was not associated with most beliefs about HPV-related diseases (i.e., genital warts, oral cancer, and anal cancer); however, HIV-positive men had higher worry about and perceived likelihood of these diseases. Most men correctly believed that HIV increases risk of HPV-related diseases, yet 29% to 42% still did not. Relatively few men believed that HPV vaccine works in males or that physicians are allowed to give it to men. Acceptability of the HPV vaccine was high and not associated with HIV status (78% of HIV-positive men vs 74% of HIV-negative men; adjusted odds ratio = 1.48; 95% confidence interval = 0.67-3.27).
Conclusions: The high acceptability of HPV vaccine, relatively low knowledge of how HIV increases risk for HPV-related diseases, and misperceptions about HPV vaccine can inform HPV prevention efforts for gay men. The few differences by HIV status suggest that HPV prevention programs may be able to use similar approaches with both HIV-negative and HIV-positive gay men.