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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Drexel: Public Health Campaigns Should Emphasize Combined Role of Condoms and Vaccination to Prevent HPV in Gay Men

Public health efforts must emphasize condom use and vaccination together to reduce human papillomavirus (HPV) cases among young sexually active gay men (YMSM), according to researchers at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, published in the journal Vaccine. The work builds on other studies demonstrating success of these methods by modeling how many HPV cases can be prevented by increasing the number of people vaccinated. This study contrasted vaccination scale-up with other sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention strategies, such as condoms and selecting sexual partners based on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status, in the reduction of HPV.

The research team simulated a population of 5,329 YMSM, aged 18-26, reflecting the population in Philadelphia, for up to 10 years after they received the FDA-approved HPV vaccine. The researchers recorded anal and oral transmission of the nine types of HPV most likely to cause cancer and genital warts that the vaccine helps prevent.

Vaccination was scaled-up at varying levels in the simulation population, reflecting the goal of public health efforts to increase immunization rates. This scale up of vaccination led to consistent declines in anal and oral HPV. Anal HPV declined by 9 percent, 27 percent, 46 percent and 58 percent at vaccination levels of 25 percent, 50 percent, 80 percent and 100 percent, respectively. Similarly, oral HPV declined by 11 percent, 33 percent, 57 percent, and 71 percent across the same levels of increased vaccine use.

Comparing the prevention strategies, condoms blocked the greatest number of anal transmissions when vaccination was at or below present-day levels. For oral transmission, vaccination was more effective than condom use at all levels of vaccination.

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