A new publication entitled “Potential effectiveness of prophylactic HPV immunization for men who have sex with men in the Netherlands: A multi-model approach”, authored by Dr. Hans Bogaards and colleagues, has recently been published in PLoS Medicine. The research article explores how anogenital HPV transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Netherlands might be reduced through strategies of prophylactic immunization.
The authors developed various models for HPV transmission among MSM that were parameterized using data from a Dutch cohort study, coordinated by GGD Amsterdam. Vaccine uptake was informed by previous hepatitis B (HepB) immunization campaigns, targeting groups at high risk for HepB infection, including MSM, throughout the Netherlands. In the models, targeted vaccination reduced the occurrence of anogenital HPV infections by around 30%, if HPV vaccine uptake similar to that of HepB vaccine among MSM were realized. This figure increased to 75% when targeted vaccination was combined with vaccination of boys, assuming 40% uptake.
The incidence rate of anal cancer among MSM is comparable to that of cervical cancer among adult women in the Netherlands. This study suggest that a targeted immunization campaign among MSM may generate considerable reductions in oncogenic HPV infections, and has the potential to accelerate anal cancer prevention, especially when combined with sex-neutral vaccination in preadolescence.