Anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, especially HPV16, is the main cause of anal cancer. Anal sex increases the infection, and it is worsened by HIV-related immunosuppression.
Approximately 35,000 HPV-related anal cancers are diagnosed annually worldwide, including 17,000 among males. Anal cancer rates are increasing in several high-income countries, which might be due to changes in sexual behavior.
In the U.S., most of the increase among young males is due to human immunodeficiency virus
Researchers recently conducted a meta-analysis of 79 studies with a total of almost 24,000 patients.
Among people who did not have HIV, rates of HPV16 was higher among men who have sex with men (MSM) (14%) than among men who have sex with woman (MSW) (3%). The same was true for HIV-positive men -- 30% for MSMs versus 11% for MSWs.
So same-sex preferences and being HIV-positive are both strong predictors having HPV16 infection. The authors conclude that to prevent anal cancer, focus should be placed on gay men with HIV.
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