Young men who have sex with men (MSM) acquire vaccine-preventable strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) rapidly after becoming sexually active, adding weight to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation that boys undergo HPV vaccination at age 11 or 12, Reuters reports. Publishing their findings in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, investigators recruited 200 MSM between the ages of 16 and 20, tested them for HPV DNA from the anal canal and penis and had them complete a questionnaire.

The median age of the participants was 19. The median amount of time since the young men had first had receptive anal sex was 1.9 years, and the group had a median four partners with whom they had had receptive anal sex.

Across the board, 39 percent of the group had at least one vaccine-preventable HPV strain. Those who reported never having had receptive anal sex had a 10 percent prevalence rate of anal HPV, a figure that jumped to 47 percent among those with at least four partners with whom they were the receptive partner, or bottom. Similarly, the rate of penile HPV among those who reported never practicing insertive anal sex, or being the top, was less than 4 percent, while those who had been the top with four or more partners had a prevalence rate of almost 15 percent. The study found that the young men acquired HPV 16, a higher-risk strain included in the HPV vaccine’s spectrum of protection, shortly after becoming sexually active and that the risk of acquisition increased in tandem with the number of partners.

To read the Reuters article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.

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