Background: Viral infections of the anal/rectal tract of men who have sex with men (MSM) have been poorly studied. Methods: In total, 158 swab samples (81 anal/rectal, 65 throat/oral and 12 urethral) were collected from 126 MSM. DNA was isolated and subjected to real-time PCR assays for the detection of the sexually transmitted (ST) pathogens Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Mycoplasmas ssp, human papillomavirus (HPV) and six human polyomaviruses (HPyVs; JCPyV, BKPyV, Merkel cell PyV–MCPyV-, HPyV-6, HPyV-7 and HPyV-9). Results: C. trachomatis (31/126, 24.6%) and M. genitalium (30/126, 23.8%) were the most frequently detected ST pathogens. Thirty-one/126 (24.6%) patients were positive for at least one HPyV. The significantly (p < 0.05) prevalent HPyV in the anal tract was MCPyV, which was amplified in 27/81 (33.3%) samples, followed by HPyV-6, which was amplified in 6/81 (7.4%) swabs. Coinfections with MCPyV and C. trachomatis or Mycoplasmas were found in 4/21 (19.0%) and 5/21 (23.8%) anal/rectal swabs, respectively. Three/4 MCPyV-C. trachomatis coinfected patients were symptomatic. Conclusions: Based on the high prevalence of MCPyV in the anal/rectal swabs from MSM patients and on the well-known oncogenic properties of MCPyV, sexual transmission and possible involvement of HPyVs in the pathogenesis of diseases of the anal canal should be further studied.
- Men who have sex with men (MSM)
- Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV)
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)