Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination of girls will have relatively little effect on HPV-related disease in men who have sex with men (MSM). We determined HPV prevalence and risk factors in MSM to inform the potential effectiveness of vaccinating MSM.
Methods: Cross-sectional study of 522 MSM aged 18-40 attending a London sexual health clinic who completed a computer-assisted self-interview. Urine and two swabs (anal and penile/scrotal/perianal) were collected and tested using an in-house Luminex-based HPV genotyping system.
Results: Prevalence of DNA of the vaccine-preventable HPV types in ano-genital specimens of men was 87/511 (17.0%), 166/511 (32.5%) and 232/511 (45.4%) for the bivalent (HPV16/18), quadrivalent (HPV6/11/16/18) and nonavalent (HPV6/11/16/18/31/33/45/52/58) vaccine types, respectively. A total of 25.1% had one of the quadrivalent types, and 7.4% had 2+ types. Median age at first anal sex was 19 (IQR 17-23) and at first clinic attendance was 24 (IQR 20-27). The increase in the odds of any HPV infection per year of age was 4.7% (95% CI 1.2-8.4).
Conclusions: On the basis of the current infection status, most MSM, even among a high-risk population attending a sexual health clinic, are not currently infected with the vaccine-type HPV. A targeted vaccination strategy for MSM in the UK could have substantial benefits.