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Sexual Positioning Practices and Anal Human Papillomavirus Infection Among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men and Transgender Women—Chicago, Illinois, 2016–2018

Morgan, Ethan; Meites, Elissa; Markowitz, Lauri E.; Xavier Hall, Casey D.; Querec, Troy D.; Unger, Elizabeth R.; Crosby, Richard A. Newcomb, Michael E. PhD; Mustanski, Brian PhD

journal of the american sexually transmitted diseases association


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States; men who have sex with men (MSM) have higher prevalence of infection and related disease compared with other men. We assessed whether differences in HPV acquisition exist among MSM according to their sexual positioning practices, as well as self-reported receipt of HPV vaccination.


We enrolled young MSM and transgender women aged 18 to 26 years in Chicago, IL (N = 666). Participants self-reported their history of HPV vaccination and submitted self-collected anal swab specimens for type-specific HPV detection using an L1-consensus PCR assay. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to assess relationships between sexual positioning practices and detection of any HPV or quadrivalent HPV vaccine (4vHPV) types by vaccination status, defined as self-reported receipt of ≥1 HPV vaccine dose versus none.


Among 666 participants, 400 (60.1%) had any anal HPV, and 146 (21.9%) had a 4vHPV type. Among vaccinated participants, 18, 36, and 177 reported exclusively insertive, exclusively receptive, or both sexual positioning practices, respectively. Compared with participants reporting exclusively insertive anal sex, odds of any HPV were significantly higher among participants engaging exclusively in receptive anal sex (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 5.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.52–13.78), as well as those engaging in both (aOR, 3.32; 95% CI, 1.71–6.44). Vaccinated participants, compared with unvaccinated participants, had lower odds of 4vHPV-type HPV regardless of sexual positioning practices (aOR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.34–0.92).


Adult men and transgender women who practice anal receptive sex have high prevalence of infection with any HPV. Routine vaccination of all adolescents is expected to reduce HPV-related disease incidence among adult MSM and transgender women as vaccinated cohorts age.


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