Anal cancer has become one of the most common non-AIDS-defined tumors among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-positive (HIV+) individuals, and a rise in its incidence among HIV+ Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) has been shown, despite the introduction of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART). Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections are highly prevalent among HIV+ MSM and recent studies have shown high rates of HPV-associated anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN) and anal cancer among this population.
In the present study we determined the prevalence and nature of HPV co-infections in the anal canal of 324 HIV+ MSM attending a high specialty medical center in Mexico City, DNA extraction and amplification with generic primers for HPV was performed, followed by detection of specific types and co-infections with INNO-Lipa, and identification of variants by amplification and sequencing of the E6 and LCR region of HPV 16.
We found a very high prevalence of HPV infections among this cohort (86%), with more than one fourth of them (28%) positive for type 16. Among HPV16-positive patients, European variants were the most prevalent, followed by Asian-American ones. Among these individuals (HPV-16+), we identified co-infections with other 21 HPV types namely; 11, 51, 52, 6, 66, 68, 74, 18, 45, 35, 26, 44, 70, 53, 54, 82, 31, 33, 56, 58, 59.
HIV+ MSM show a very high rate of HPV infections in the anal canal and those with type 16 exhibited a multiplicity of associated types. This study emphasizes the need for an early detection of HPV infections among HIV+ MSM in order to establish its utility to prevent anal neoplasia and cancer.