KENYA: HPV infection heightens HIV risk in men

PlusNews

Global HIV/AIDS News Analysis

NAIROBI, 12 May 2010 (PlusNews) – The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine could be a useful tool in HIV prevention, according to a study, which found that Kenyan men infected with HPV were more likely than uninfected men to contract the HI virus.

“Within [the study] population of young men at a high risk for HIV acquisition in Kenya, HPV infection was very common, so preventing HPV infection could potentially be another tool for HIV prevention,” the authors said.

HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can cause genital warts; some types of HPV can also cause cervical cancer.

Published in the 1 June edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers found that of 2,168 uncircumcised men aged between 18 and 24, nearly half were infected with HPV at the start of the study. Over the next 42 months, 5.8 percent of those men contracted HIV, compared with 3.7 percent of the HPV-negative men.

The study was part of a wider clinical trial conducted between February 2002 and December 2006 in Kisumu, western Kenya, which showed that male circumcision significantly reduced the risk of HIV acquisition.

A 2009 study of men who have sex with men in the United States also found that anal HPV infection raised the risk of HIV infection.

According to Kawango Agot, of the Universities of Nairobi, Illinois, and Manitoba (UNIM) Project in Kisumu, HPV prevention could have wide-reaching benefits.

“The use of both male circumcision and HPV vaccination would further lower men’s risk of contracting HIV,” she said.

This was substantiated by a finding that among uncircumcised men infected with HPV, the estimated incidence of HIV infection was 3.9 percent over a two-year period, against 0.8 percent among circumcised men without HPV.

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I am struggling with this – especially since HIV indicated women are told to tell their doctors prior to getting the Gardasil vaccine – according to the product insert.  It seems to me that Merck is still trying to create a “market out of thin air” with the men.  Merck was given a marketing award for ‘creating a market out of thin air” for women.  Bottom line is that this is nothing more than a scare tactic.

PG

Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.