Oral human papillomavirus infection in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected MSM: The OHMAR prospective cohort study

Massimo Giuliani, Francesca Rollo, Maria Fenicia Vescio, Barbara Pichi, Alessandra Latini, Maria Benevolo, Raul Pellini, Antonio Cristaudo, Maria Gabriella Dona'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective We aimed to assess incidence and clearance of oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and the respective risk factors in HIV-infected and uninfected men who have sex with men (MSM). Methods Oral rinse and gargles were collected semiannually from 244 MSM (103, 42.2% HIV-infected). HPV-DNA testing was performed with the Linear Array HPV Genotyping test. A Markov model was used for estimation of incidence, clearance and risk factor analysis. Results Incidence rates for any HPV were 21.2 and 15.0×1000 person-months in HIV-infected and uninfected MSM, respectively. The respective figures for high-risk HPVs were 10.7 and 6.5×1000 person-months. The clearance rate was 4-12 times higher than the respective incidence rate. HIV-infected MSM with >95 lifetime oral sex partners showed increased incidence of any HPV (adjusted HR, aHR: 8.46, 95% CI 1.89 to 37.92). Condomless oral sex appeared the strongest predictor for incident infection by high-risk HPVs in this group (aHR: 13.40, 95% CI 2.55 to 70.53). Those aged >46 years (aHR: 0.30, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.74) and those with nadir CD4+ T count of <200 cells/mm 3 (aHR: 0.14, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.75) displayed a significantly reduced clearance of any and high-risk HPVs, respectively. HIV-uninfected MSM aged >46 years had increased risk of acquiring any HPV (aHR: 3.70, 95% CI 1.30 to 10.52) and high-risk HPV (aHR: 5.33, 95% CI 1.06 to 26.68). Any HPV clearance declined in those with more than six recent oral sex partners (aHR: 0.18, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.65). Conclusions Acquisition of oral HPV infection in MSM seems to occur rarely, whereas clearance seems to be a frequent event. Oral HPV natural history in these at-risk subjects is differently influenced by age and sex behaviour, depending on HIV status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-536
Number of pages9
JournalSexually Transmitted Infections
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2020


  • gay men
  • HPV
  • oral cavity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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