Risk Factors for Oral Human Papillomavirus Infection Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men—2 Cities, United States, 2012–2014

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Abstract

Background

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at risk for cancers attributable to human papillomavirus (HPV), including oropharyngeal cancer. Human papillomavirus vaccination is recommended for US MSM through age 26 years. Oral HPV infection is associated with oropharyngeal cancer. We determined oral HPV prevalence and risk factors among young MSM.

Methods

The Young Men's HPV study enrolled MSM aged 18 through 26 years from clinics in Chicago and Los Angeles during 2012 to 2014. Participants self-reported demographics, sexual behaviors, vaccination and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status. Self-collected oral rinse specimens were tested for HPV DNA (37 types) by L1-consensus PCR. We calculated adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for risk factors associated with oral HPV among participants not previously vaccinated.

Results

Oral HPV was detected in 87 (9.4%) of 922; 9-valent vaccine types were detected in 37 (4.0%) of 922. Among HIV-positive participants, 17 (19.3%) of 88 had oral HPV detected. Oral HPV was more prevalent among those reporting first sex at 18 years of age or younger (aPR, 2.44; 95% CI, 1.16–5.12); HIV infection (aPR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.14–3.48); greater than 5 sex partners within the past month (aPR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.13–3.31); performing oral sex on greater than 5 partners within the last 3 months (aPR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.12–3.13); and having greater than 5 male sex partners within the last 3 months (aPR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.08–2.87). Only 454 (49.2%) of 922 were aware that HPV can cause oropharyngeal cancers.

Conclusions

Many oral HPV infections were with types targeted by vaccination. Oral HPV infections were significantly associated with HIV and sexual behaviors. Fewer than half of participants were aware that HPV could cause oropharyngeal cancer.

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