The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that gay and bisexual men (men who have sex with other men) are about 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer than men who only have sex with women. HIV-positive males who have sex with males are at increased risk of developing anal cancer and/or genital warts compared to the general population. However, those who receive the Gardasil vaccine could be protected.
The Gardasil vaccine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in HIV-negative young men and women to prevent transmission of the human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that can lead to genital warts or cervical and anal cancer. And in October 2011, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend HPV vaccinations for boys and men ages 11 to 21.
Scientists and doctors have reason to believe that Gardasil will have the same levels of protection among those who are HIV-positive, but research is limited at this time.
To increase the amount of knowledge surrounding the protective effects of Gardasil, Fenway has opened a new research study which is providing the Gardasil vaccine to HIV-infected males who have sex with males and are between the ages of 12 and 26 years old. During the course of the study, participants will receive a great picture of their overall health through regular lab draws, anal pap smears, STI testing and counseling, and receipt of the Gardasil vaccine—all of which are normally recommended by doctors for young people.
This study is open to those who meet the eligibility criteria:
- 12-26 years old
- Have never received the Gardasil vaccine
And regardless of eligibility, if you’re a Boston-area young person and would like to know more about getting vaccinated against HPV, providers at the Borum are happy to answer your questions. If you’d like to get tested for HPV and other sexually transmitted infections, call Fenway Health at 617.267.0159 to discuss your options with a counselor or visit this website for help finding a testing site close to you.