Incidence, Clearance, and Disease Progression of Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection in Heterosexual Men

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Background. In this analysis, we examine the incidence and clearance of external genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection among heterosexual males aged 16–24 years.

Methods. A total of 1732 males aged 16–24 years old in the placebo arm of a quadrivalent HPV vaccine trial were included in this analysis. Participants were enrolled from 18 countries in Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, Latin America, and North America. Subjects underwent anogenital examinations and sampling of the penis, scrotum, and perineal/perianal regions.

Results. The incidence rate of any HPV DNA genotype 6, 11, 16, and/or 18 detection was 9.0 cases per 100 person-years. Rates of HPV DNA detection were highest in men from Africa. Median time to clearance of HPV genotypes 6, 11, 16, and 18 DNA was 6.1, 6.1, 7.7, and 6.2 months, respectively. Median time to clearance of persistently detected HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18 DNA was 6.7, 3.2, 9.2, and 4.7 months, respectively.

Conclusion. The study results suggest that the acquisition of HPV 6, 11, 16, and/or 18 in males is common and that many of these so-called infections are subsequently cleared, similar to findings for women. Nevertheless, given the high rate of HPV detection among young men, HPV vaccination of males may reduce infection in men and reduce the overall burden of HPV-associated disease in the community.

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