The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol

How Do We Make Sure Gay Men Get Vaccinated for HPV?

September 4, 2013

For young gay men in the U.S., overall prevalence of HPV (human papillomavirus) infection was 70 percent, while the prevalence of HPV 16 and/or HPV 18 -- the two HPV strains most commonly associated with anal cancer -- was 37 percent, according to a new study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. While HPV vaccination is commonly discussed for women, especially as prevention for cervical cancer, the truth about gay men, HPV and anal cancer is becoming clearer with more research.

The study followed 94 gay men in Seattle, between the ages of 16 and 30 years old, for one year. To check for HPV infection, the study participants were given three anal swabs: one at baseline, six months and 12 months. For men who had no infection at baseline, the incidence rate of any new HPV infection was 38.5 per 1000 person-month. Additionally, HPV prevalence increased for men who reported higher numbers of sexual partners.

According to, the authors wrote:

Our findings highlight the need to immunize YMSM [young men who have sex with men] prior to their sexual debut, something that will likely require universal male immunization. At the same time, the fact that most YMSM appeared to remain susceptible to at least some HPV types included in the vaccine, catch-up immunization programs do offer YMSM some benefit.

In the U.S., the HPV vaccine Gardasil is recommended for all males between 11 and 21 years of age, and for gay men up to 26 years old. Given these study results and other research showing higher rates of anal cancer among gay men, the bottom line remains that immunization to HPV before sexual experience is best. In particular, for these study participants, "many (if not most) have been exposed to infection from one of their first few partners," the researchers said.

Have you received HPV vaccination? Have you ever had any experience with HPV? What do you know about HPV? Respond in the comments section below!

Mathew Rodriguez is the editorial project manager for and

Follow Mathew on Twitter: @mathewrodriguez.

Copyright © 2013 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

More From This Resource Center

Undetectable Viral Load and HIV Prevention: What Do Gay and Bi Men Need to Know?

Do HIV-Negative Gay Men Need Condoms if They're on PrEP? Here's What I Tell My Patients

Related Stories

Rectal STIs More Than Double HIV Risk Among Gay Men, Study Suggests
Barebacking, Unbridled: Thoughts From the HIV Community on Unprotected Sex
Questions LGBT People (and Everyone Else) Ought to Ask Their Doctors
More Statistics on Gay Men, HIV/AIDS and Other STDs in the U.S.

This article was provided by TheBody.

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Michael Christensen-Frame (Sacramento, CA) Sun., Sep. 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm UTC
I have been living with HIV for some 28 years and in 2010, I was diagnosed with anal cancer. It was caused by the HPV virus, which resulted in the removal of my rectum and a colostomy after my treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. I have been an advocate of the vaccine since it became available to the female population. I had stated from the very beginning that men should be included in this effort. I am glad to see this. I hope that I can be held up as a prime example as to why we need to be vaccinated. Thank You for your time and please get this vaccination. It may save your life and a whole lot of hardship..
Reply to this comment

Comment by: Brandon (Mission viejo ) Wed., Sep. 11, 2013 at 11:43 am UTC
I'm 49 asked My doctor And He gave me it
Reply to this comment

Comment by: Jason (NC) Wed., Sep. 11, 2013 at 10:03 am UTC
I recently went to my ID. I had been doing research on HPV and being positive. I proactively asked my doctor for Gardasil. He said insurance would not cover the cost. I said, given that I am gay and HIV positive, regardless of cost, what would you recommend. He said, yes, I would recommend it. I am 39 YO, and tested negative for HPV so I was glad to start the vaccine. A series of shots over several months.
Reply to this comment

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our advertising policy.