Preventing HPV might lower risk of HIV infection in men: UNC study
Wednesday, April 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 men 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 male circumcision in reducing the incidence of HIV infection. 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," said Smith, who is also a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. "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. HPV can cause other diseases, including genital
warts and other cancers.
Study co-authors include Stephen Moses M.D., and Ian Maclean, Ph.D., University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada; Michael Hudgens, Ph.D., research associate professor of biostatistics,
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health; Corette B. Parker, Dr.P.H., senior biostatistician, Research Triangle Institute; Kawango Agot, Ph.D., UNIM Project, Kisumu; Jeckoniah O.
Ndinya-Achola, University of Nairobi; Peter J. F. Snijders and Chris J.L.M. Meijer, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam; and Robert C. Bailey, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology,
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.
The research was supported by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Investigator Award.
The study is titled "Increased Risk of HIV Acquisition among Kenyan Men with Human Papillomavirus Infection." For more information, visit http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/toc/jid/current
Note: Smith can be reached at (919) 966-7450 or jenniferS@unc.edu
Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, (919) 966-7467, email@example.com
News Services contact: Patric Lane, (919) 962-8596, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"Reproduced with permission - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill "