Preventing HPV might lower risk of HIV infection in men: study

Apr 28, 2010

( -- Men infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) are at greater risk of becoming infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) than men who are not HPV positive, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Preventing HPV infection could be a way to slow the HIV epidemic, the researchers said in a study published online recently in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

“Finding a vaccine to prevent HIV is the greatest hope for curbing the world’s AIDS pandemic, but so far there is no such vaccine,” said Jennifer S. Smith, Ph.D., research associate professor of epidemiology in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and lead author of the study. “However, there is a vaccine to prevent specific types of HPV infection, and vaccinating young before they become sexually active could potentially help prevent the spread of HIV.”

The study was conducted between 2002 and 2006 in men aged 18 to 24 in Kisumu, a city in western Kenya. The main trial, conducted by University of Illinois at Chicago researcher Robert Bailey, Ph.D., and colleagues, aimed to determine the effectiveness of in reducing the incidence of . The 2,168 men who participated in the HPV part of the trial were - at the time of their first study visit - uncircumcised, did not have HIV and were sexually active. The men were tested for HPV infections at the start of the trial and over 24 months; most were followed for 42 months.

At the outset, researchers found that half of the men (1,089 out of 2,168) were infected with HPV on the skin of their penis. They speculated that since HPV can cause penile lesions and affect immune responses, it may enhance susceptibility to HIV infection. After 42 months, 5.8 percent of the men who were HPV positive at the beginning of the trial were HIV positive, compared to 3.7 percent of the men who did not have HPV.

“Even when we controlled for circumcision status, herpes and other sexual and sociodemographic risk factors, men infected with HPV at the first study visit were at greater risk for HIV infection than men without HPV,” Smith said. “If our findings are confirmed in other studies, then HPV prevention could become an effective tool for HIV prevention.”

Carcinogenic types of HPV are the leading cause of cervical cancer, both globally and in the United States. HPV vaccination is routinely recommended for females aged 11 to 12, by agencies including the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the Centers for Disease Control, and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute. Cervical cancer screening is still necessary for women following vaccination.

HPV infects both young females and males. The quadrivalent HPV vaccine is also approved in the U.S. for young men. can cause other diseases, including genital warts and other cancers.

Explore further: Animal study provides first evidence that gel can prevent multiple virus transmission in vagina/rectum

More information: The study is titled “Increased Risk of HIV Acquisition among Kenyan Men with Human Papillomavirus Infection.” For more information, visit

Provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Some men want girls' vaccine, too

Feb 23, 2007

Some British gay men want to be vaccinated with the drug approved to protect girls from cervical cancer, saying it could help them, too.

Study explores attitudes and beliefs about HPV

Mar 01, 2007

The most common sexually transmitted virus in the US is genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, with 20 million Americans currently infected and another 6.2 million becoming infected each year. Although HPV causes serious ...

Recommended for you

HIV+ women respond well to HPV vaccine

Apr 16, 2014

HIV-positive women respond well to a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), even when their immune system is struggling, according to newly published results of an international clinical trial. The study's findings ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.