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Prevalence of human papillomavirus infection differs for men and women

The age-specific prevalence of sexually transmitted human papillomavirus infection in women differs substantially from that in men who have sex with men, according to a new study published in the December 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online. The study, led by Peter V. Chin-Hong of the University of California, San Francisco, indicates a high prevalence of anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in all age groups of men who have sex with men. This finding contrasts with the age-related prevalence of cervical HPV infection.

Numerous studies have previously documented a causal link between HPV infection and anal and cervical cancers. Many studies have also shown that cervical HPV infection is strongly related to age, peaking early and falling after age 30. Little, however, is known about the age-specific prevalence of anal HPV infection in men who have sex with men. Most research on the subject has involved men in a narrow age range who were HIV-infected. The investigators described their study as the first to document anal HPV infection in a HIV-seronegative population of men who have sex with men who were diverse in terms of age and geography.

The study was conducted between January 2001 and October 2002 and involved 1,218 men who have sex with men living in Boston, Denver, New York, and San Francisco. The men were aged 18 to 89 years and 78% were white, 14% were Latino, 6% were African American, and 3% were Asian. The researchers found the prevalence rate of anal HPV infection to be 57%, and this rate did not change with age or from city to city. Factors associated with infection were receptive anal sex and having more than five sex partners in the previous six months.

Study results also described the nature of anal HPV infection in this group. Forty-five percent of those infected had more than one type of HPV. The prevalence of infection with "high-risk" HPV types associated with invasive anal canc
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Contact: Steve Baragona
sbaragona@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
16-Nov-2004


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