HPV (sero) prevalence among young MSM visiting the STI clinic: opportunities for targeted HPV vaccination

Petra Woestenberg, Birgit Van Benthem, Johannes Bogaards, Audrey King, Fiona Van der Klis, Suzan Leussink, Marianne Van der Sande, Christian Hoebe

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Background: Because men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionally affected by human papillomavirus (HPV) related cancers, countries might consider targeted HPV vaccination for MSM. We assessed the prevalence of vaccine-preventable HPV types among young MSM visiting sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics in the Netherlands.

Methods: We used data from MSM included in the PASSYON study, a biennial cross-sectional study among STI clinic visitors aged 16–24 years that started in 2009 when girls-only HPV vaccination was introduced. MSM were asked to provide a penile and anal swab for HPV DNA testing (including the vaccine-preventable types HPV6/11/16/18/31/33/45/52/58) and blood for HPV antibody testing (HPV16/18/31/33/45/52/58).

Results: We included 575 MSM with a median age of 22 years and a median of 15 lifetime partners. No trends in penile or anal HPV prevalence over time were seen. Of the 455 MSM with both swabs available, 79%, 62% and 53% were HPV DNA negative at both anatomic sites for HPV16/18, HPV6/11/16/18 and HPV6/11/16/18/31/33/45/52/58 respectively. Most of these MSM who were HPV DNA negative, were also seronegative (80% for HPV16/18 and 70% for HPV16/18/31/33/45/52/58).

Conclusion: The HPV prevalence among MSM did not decline since girls-only vaccination was introduced indicating that MSM are unlikely to benefit from herd effects from girls-only vaccination. Because the majority of young MSM visiting the STI clinic were (sero)negative for HPV16/18, the most important oncogenic types in males, targeting this group for HPV vaccination could still be beneficial.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSexually Transmitted Infections
Issue numberSupplement 1
Pages (from-to)A244-A244
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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