Objectives: High-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Penile and cervical cancer rates are highest in sub-Saharan Africa. However, little is known about the impact of HIV infection on HR-HPV acquisition and clearance among heterosexual men.
Design: HR-HPV incidence and clearance were evaluated in 999 men (776 HIV-negative and 223 HIV-positive) aged 15-49 years who participated in male circumcision trials in Rakai, Uganda.
Methods: Penile swabs were tested for HR-HPV by Roche HPV Linear Array. A Poisson multivariable model was used to estimate adjusted incidence rate ratios (adjIRRs) and clearance risk ratios (adjRRs).
Results: HR-HPV incidence was 66.5/100 person-years in HIV-positive men and 32.9/100 person-years among HIV-negative men [IRR=2.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.67-2.44]. Incidence was higher in the unmarried men (adjIRR=1.73, 95% CI 1.19-2.52), and decreased with age (adjIRR for men >35 years=0.64, 95% CI 0.43-0.94) and male circumcision (adjIRR=0.70, 95% CI 0.55-0.89). HR-HPV clearance was 114.7/100 person-years for HIV-positive men and 170.2/100 person-years for HIV-negative men (risk ratio=0.67, 95% CI 0.59-0.77). HR-HPV clearance in HIV-negative men increased with circumcision (adjRR=1.48, 95% CI 1.26-1.74), HSV-2 infection (adjRR=1.20, 95% CI 1.01-1.44), and symptoms of urethral discharge (adjRR=1.35, 95% CI 1.06-1.73). Clearance of HR-HPV was significantly lower for unmarried men (adjRR 0.76, 95% CI 0.59-0.98).
Conclusion: HR-HPV is common among heterosexual Ugandan men, particularly the HIV-infected. HIV infection increases HR-HPV acquisition and reduces HR-HPV clearance. Promotion of male circumcision and additional prevention measures, such as HPV vaccination, is critical in sub-Saharan Africa.