December 4, 2013
This article was reported by Medical Xpress.
An article in Medical Xpress showed that older HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) are at higher risk of infection from the strains of human papilloma virus (HPV) that cause anal cancer. HPV, which causes cervical cancer in women, also can cause anal cancer in both women and men.
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Nursing, led by Dorothy J. Wiley, associate professor at UCLA School of Nursing, reviewed data on 1,200 men from four U.S. locations. Participants were examined twice a year for 25 years. During semiannual visits, healthcare providers examined all participants for demographic, sexual, behavioral, and HIV-infection characteristics as well as tested for HPV. Approximately 49 percent of the participants were HIV-infected.
Findings showed that HPV infection was common among the participants, and the proportion of participants with HPV was high among 40-69-year-olds. HIV-infected participants from this same age range had a higher risk of HPV infection than participants not infected with HIV. HIV-infected participants taking antiretrovirals as prescribed had a lower risk of acquiring the HPV infections that cause cancers. Also, not using tobacco lowered the risk of HPV infections for all participants.
Wiley noted that the findings highlight the benefit of adhering to treatment for HIV-infected MSM as a means of cancer prevention. This study also demonstrates the need for developing more effective HPV infection prevention, including vaccination of age-eligible males and screening and treatment for high-risk MSM.
The full report, "Factors Affecting the Prevalence of Strongly and Weakly Carcinogenic and Lower-Risk Human Papillomaviruses in Anal Specimens in a Cohort of Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM)," was published online in the journal PLoS ONE (2013; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079492).