(HealthDay News) – In the United Kingdom, young men who have sex with men (MSM) should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) infection to reduce their risk of developing anal cancer, according to an editorial published in the August issue of Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Mark D. Lawton, MD, of the Royal Liverpool University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues discuss published data regarding HPV infection, anal cancer, and HPV vaccination in MSM.

The authors point out that MSM have disproportionately higher rates of HPV-related cancer, particularly anal cancer, compared with heterosexual men. School programs in the United Kingdom have offered HPV vaccination for girls since 2008. Data from Australia showed a decrease in the incidence of anogenital warts in heterosexual men of similar age when young women were vaccinated for HPV. However, no change was observed in the incidence of anogenital warts in MSM. Beginning in February 2013, Australia has extended school-based HPV vaccination to include boys aged 12–13 years, with a catch-up program for boys aged 14–15. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal vaccination of boys aged 11–12 years as well as vaccination of MSM up to age 26 years. Recent studies have established the efficacy of HPV vaccination in men, including MSM. Using conservative analyses, modeling suggests that HPV vaccination of MSM is cost-effective.

“In 2010, 17,000 MSM aged 16–26 years attended a sexual health clinic within England,” the authors write. “In the light of this evidence, and in the absence of universal vaccination of boys, the argument for introducing targeted HPV vaccination for MSM up to age 26 years is strong.”

One author disclosed financial ties to Sanofi-Pasteur.

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