(HealthDay News) — For men who have sex with men (MSM), the prevalence of anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is high, according to a study published online March 23 in HIV Medicine.

Corinna Sadlier, MD, from St. James’s Hospital in Dublin, and colleagues examined the molecular epidemiology of HPV infection in a cohort of 194 HIV-positive and HIV-negative MSM aged >18 years. Anal swabs were collected and anal HPV infection identified using a polymerase chain reaction assay.

The researchers detected HPV DNA in 113 individuals, of whom 42% had a high-risk (HR) HPV type. HR HPV types 16, 18, and 31 were detected in 27, 16, and 23% of samples, respectively. Seventeen percent of individuals had more than one type of HR HPV. The prevalence of HPV and HR HPV were higher in those aged >30 years (P=0.001 and 0.028, respectively). Compared with HIV-negative individuals, HIV-positive participants were more likely to have any detectable HPV (77 vs. 61%; P=0.04); to have HR HPV 18 or 31 (P=0.05 and 0.006, respectively); and to be infected with more than one type of HPV (31 vs. 3%; P<0.001).

“Emerging patterns of HPV-related disease strengthen the call for universal vaccination of boys and girls with consideration of catch-up and targeted vaccination of high-risk groups such as MSM and those with HIV infection,” the authors write.

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