Background: We assessed prevalence and risk factors for anal human papillomavirus (HPV) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive men who have sex with men (MSM), who are at high-risk of HPV-related anal cancer.
Methods: APACHES is a multicentric, prospective study of anal HPV infection and lesions in HIV-positive MSM aged ≥35 years. At baseline, participants underwent anal swabs for HPV and cytology, plus high-resolution anoscopy. High-risk HPV (HR-HPV) was tested by Cobas4800, with genotyping of HR-HPV positives by PapilloCheck.
Results: Among 490 participants, prevalence of HPV16 and HR-HPV was 29% and 70%, respectively, and did not differ significantly by age, sexual behavior, or markers of HIV or immune deficiency. Smoking was the only, albeit weak (odds ratio, 1.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-2.7), predictor of HR-HPV. High-risk HPV and HPV16 prevalence increased strongly with anal diagnosis severity, both by worse cytological/histological (composite) diagnosis at APACHES baseline and worse historical diagnosis. HPV16 rose from 19% among participants who were negative for lesions to 63% among participants with high-grade lesions. In contrast, non-HPV16 HR-HPVs were less prevalent in high-grade (37%) than negative (64%) composite diagnosis, and their causal attribution was further challenged by multiple HPV infections.
Conclusions: Human papillomavirus 16 is ubiquitously frequent among human immunodeficiency virus -positive men having sex with men, and more strongly associated with high-grade anal lesions than other high-risk types, confirming it as a target for anal cancer prevention.