HPV vaccine helps.
There is a 70% reduction in one type of human papillomavirus (HPV) in gay and bisexual men, noted after the implementation of a school-based HPV vaccination program in Australia.
This is according to a study by Monash University and Alfred Health – “Prevalence of human papillomavirus in young men who have sex with men after the implementation of gender-neutral HPV vaccination: a repeated cross-sectional study” by Eric Chow, et al – that appeared in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
For this study, the researchers recruited 400 gay and bisexual men with a median age of 19 years from sexual health clinics and the community in Melbourne, Australia. The results – specifically – compared the HYPER1 group of 200 gay/bisexual men pre-vaccination in 2010-2012, and the HYPER2 group of 200 gay/bisexual men post-vaccination in 2017-2018.
As FYI: Australia is one of the few countries that have vaccination programs for HPV for both boys and girls. The vaccine covers four genotypes: 6/11/16/18. Genotypes 6/11 cause about 90% of the genital wart cases, and genotypes 16/18 cause about 70% of cervical and anal cancers.
The study found that there was a significant reduction in all four vaccine-preventable genotypes in gay/bisexual men aged 16-20 years following the introduction of the vaccine for boys in 2013. Specifically, there was a reduction in anal quadrivalent genotypes from 28% down to 7.3%, and penile quadrivalent genotypes also lowered in the post-vaccination group to 6.1% from 11.9%.
According to the American Cancer Society, the number of new anal cancer cases has been rising annually, with the risk of being diagnosed with anal cancer during one’s lifetime about 1 in 500. The risk is also higher in people with certain risk factors for anal cancer – e.g. among gay and bisexual men, particularly those living with HIV. On the latter, a meta-analysis estimated the incidence of anal cancer to be 45.9 per 100,000 among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM).
Results from the HYPER2 study suggest that male vaccination may lead to a potential reduction in anal cancer among gay and bisexual men, similar to the reduction in cervical cancer among women after the HPV vaccination.