HIV, Immune Dysfunction, and the Natural History of Anal High-Risk Human Papillomavirus Infection in Gay and Bisexual Men

I. Mary Poynten, Fengyi Jin, Suzanne M. Garland, Richard J. Hillman, Monica Molano, Jennifer M. Roberts, David J. Templeton, Samuel Phillips, Carmella Law, Christopher K. Fairley, Annabelle Farnsworth, Andrew E. Grulich

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BACKGROUND: Incidence of anal cancer is highest in gay and bisexual men (GBM). Better understanding of the natural history of anal high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) infection is needed for anal cancer prevention. METHODS: The Study of the Prevention of Anal Cancer was a 3-year study of Australian GBM, aged 35 years or older. We examined incidence, clearance, and risk factors for 13 hrHPV types at baseline and 3 annual visits. RESULTS: In 525 men with ≥ 2 visits, 348 (66.3%) acquired ≥ 1 incident hrHPV infection. HPV16 incidence rates were similar, but non-16 hrHPV incidence was higher in HIV-positive (51.8/100 person years [PY]) than HIV-negative men (36.5/100 PY, P < .001). Annual clearance rates of HPV16 (13.21/100 PY, 95% confidence interval, 10.53-16.56) were lower than for other hrHPV types. hrHPV clearance rates were not associated with HIV overall but were significantly lower in those with a lower nadir CD4 (<200 cells/µL) for HPV16 (P = .015) and other hrHPV types (P = .007). CONCLUSIONS: Higher incidence of non-16 hrHPV types, coupled with lower clearance of non-16 hrHPV types in those with past impaired immune function, is consistent with the greater role of non-16 hrHPV in anal cancer in HIV-positive people. AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRY: ANZCTR365383.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-257
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2021


  • anal
  • anal cancer
  • gay and bisexual men
  • HIV
  • HPV
  • screening

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