To develop strategies for prevention and early treatment of human papillomavirus (HPV) anal and penile cancer, a better understanding of related sexual behavior risk factors is needed.
The goal of this study was to establish the prevalence of anal and coronal sulcus HPV in a group of men who have sex with men participating in a Dutch gay-cohort study, to identify risk factors associated with HPV infection in this group, and to investigate the presence of identical HPV types in couples with stable relationships.
A cross-sectional study of 241 HIV-negative and 17 HIV-positive men who have sex with men visiting the sexually transmitted disease clinic of the Erasmus MC for a regular and scheduled examination. Participants underwent a routine venereological examination including HIV serologic analysis, and swabs were taken from the coronal sulcus and anus for HPV DNA testing. All subjects were asked to complete a questionnaire on sexual risk behavior.
HPV DNA was detected at the coronal sulcus in 23.5% of the HIV-positive men and in 15.8% of the HIV-negative men (P = 0.492). In anal specimens, HPV DNA was detected in 64.7% of the HIV-positive men and 32.8% of the HIV-negative men (P = 0.015). High-risk HPV types (P = 0.007) and 2 or more different HPV genotypes (P = 0.006) were seen more often in anal specimens of HIV-positive persons than in specimens of HIV-negative persons. A factor possibly associated with the presence of anal HPV infection was a concomitant anal infection with Chlamydia trachomatis, gonococci, or herpes simplex virus (P = 0.059). In only 16.7% of HPV-positive steady couples, both companions showed the presence of one or more identical HPV genotypes.
In this study, anal HPV DNA was detected more often than HPV DNA at the coronal sulcus. HIV positivity was associated with a higher prevalence of high-risk, but not with low-risk HPV types, at the anus. No association was found between HIV positivity and presence of high-risk HPV at the coronal sulcus. No sexual behavioral determinants for the presence of HPV could be identified. Concomitant anal infection with C trachomatis, gonococci, or herpes simplex virus may be associated with HPV infection. In the majority of steady couples, partners were infected with different HPV types.
This study of men who have sex with men participating in a Dutch gay cohort showed that concomitant anal infection with Chlamydia trachomatis, gonococci, or herpes simplex virus may be associated with anorectal human papillomavirus infection.
From the *Department of Dermatology and Venereology, †Department of Virology, and ‡Institute of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Reprint requests: Eric M. van der Snoek, MD, Erasmus MC, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Dr. Molewaterplein 40, 3015 GD Rotterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received December 20, 2002,
revised February 19, 2003, and accepted February 21, 2003.