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Men with penile HPV infection have an increased risk of acquiring HIV

Men with penile human papillomavirus (HPV) infection have an increased risk of acquiring HIV, investigators report in the online edition of AIDS. This increase in risk was irrespective of circumcision status.

“Our results indicate that HPV infection is an important risk factor for HIV acquisition in men that needs to be explored further and accounted for in HIV-prevention studies,” comment the authors.

It has already been shown that cervical HPV is associated with increased HIV risk for women. Investigators wished to see if penile HPV infection similarly increased the risk of HIV acquisition for men, and if this risk was modified by circumcision status. They therefore designed a prospective cohort study involving approximately 2500 men in Kisumu, Kenya, who were enrolled in the randomised-controlled trial designed to evaluate the impact of circumcision status on HIV risk.

All the men were HIV negative at baseline and aged between 19 and 24 years. Every six months, the study participants had penile swabs to check for HPV infection and they were also screened for HIV.

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