HPV stands for ‘human papillomavirus’, which is a group of more than 100 viruses. HPV is very common – most people will be infected with a form of HPV in their lifetime. HPV infection is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s. Genital Warts are caused by viruses from the human papilloma virus (HPV) family.
There are over 100 different types of HPV that can infect the skin and mucous membranes (for example the throat, anus and penis). Persistence of some types of HPV infections can lead to cancers e.g. HPV types 16 and 18 cause the majority of HPV-associated cancers, notably anal, throat, penile and cervical cancer.
The risk of anal cancer in gbMSM is higher than in heterosexual men. If you also have HIV, this risk is higher again. In addition, gbMSM are more likely to get genital warts. HPV vaccination is an effective way to reduce your risk of genital warts and your risk of developing HPV associated cancer in the future.
The HPV vaccine is available for all gbMSM, including gbMSM living with HIV, up to and including 45 years of age through public STI and HIV clinics. Ask a nurse or doctor at your clinic for more information. The vaccine is usually given over a period of 6-12 months and usually involves three injections.
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