HPV vaccine effective in preventing anal cancer

Timothy Kincaid

February 17th, 2010

Anal cancer, a very rare condition, impacts gay men to a greater extent than heterosexuals (about 0.35% of gay men get anal cancer). The most significant contributor is infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the same virus that contributes to cervical cancer in women, causes genital warts, and is linked to some rare oral cancers in straight men. HPV is very common and most sexually active adults will be infected at some point in their life.

In October, the FDA approved the use of Gardasil, a vaccine, for males ages 9 through 26 for the prevention of genital warts. Now Merck has release testing results showing that the vaccine is significantly effective in the prevention of anal cancer in gay men.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced today that in new Phase III data, GARDASIL® [Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16 and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant] was 77.5 percent (95 percent CI: 39.6, 93.3) efficacious against anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN) associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16 and 18 in 16-to-26 year-old men who have sex with men.

In this PPE analysis, GARDASIL prevented 77.5 percent (95 percent CI: 39.6, 93.3) of HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18-related AIN and anal cancer. A total of 29 men were diagnosed with HPV 6, 11, 16 or 18-related AIN during the study, with 24 cases in the placebo group and five in the vaccine group. No cases of HPV 11 or 18-related AIN were observed in the vaccine group. No cases of anal cancer were seen in either the placebo or vaccine group.

Most sexually active adults have been or will be infected with HPV. In most cases, the infection goes away naturally. But Merck also found that the vaccine efficacious in preventing infection in women aged 27 to 45, a demographic that is not yet approved by the FDA. It is easy to surmise that the next step will be to test men in this age group with the eventual goal of marketing to everyone.

Although the odds are low of getting HPV related cancer, it is probably to the advantage of all women and gay men to reduce those odds even further by getting vaccinated, if possible. While this may not be covered by your insurance, the $360 for the three shots may save your life.

Regan DuCasse

February 17th, 2010

So this means that young boys should get this vaccine the way it was touted that young girls should.

Oh boy, that’s sure going to go over well won’t it?
At least GARDISIL vaccinations are there and hooray for medical breakthroughs!

I wonder just how many ads are going to advise that ALL children should be vaccinated?
And I wonder how many people will protest the idea?

Wait and see…

Chris McCoy

February 18th, 2010

Heterosexual boys, as the primary vector for this disease, should be vaccinated regardless.

Regan DuCasse

February 18th, 2010

Chris, I concur absolutely. After all, if the point is that women get cervical cancer from HPV, then they are getting the virus from hetero men.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it on this site, but trying to give historical context to STD’s is VERY difficult, especially among faith communities that only want to indict gay men regarding HIV/AIDS.

I remind (especially religious) conservatives that syphilis was the AIDS of it’s time and a plague among mankind for CENTURIES. Tracking if or when it traveled from Europe to the Americas and Africa and infected those populations isn’t quite in dispute, but certainly syphilis was very similar in how long it stayed in it’s victims and their interim suffering. The spread had nothing whatsoever to do with sexual orientation, but apparently that means nothing to those determined to ‘blame the gays’ for HIV.

There is also the factor of populations that were considered of no value to our society and the distrust and abuses of the medical establishment that made it difficult for those most affected to want or trust medical intervention.

Poor blacks, and gay men in particular again share this history of being neglected and abused. The Tuskeegee Experiment was revealed about the time that HIV was being discovered in France and in a few cities here.

This was also close to the time that gays and lesbians weren’t automatically institutionalized or imprisoned for homosexuality.
In a way, the legal and sexual freedom of gays and lesbians also came at the unfortunate time that HIV was introduced into the population.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic was a tragic confluence of socio/political issues and the wildfire couldn’t be contained.

And despite all this, there are certain people who, rather than participate in the funding and research that FIGHTS HIV/AIDS, or even praying that such a devastating disease goes the way of syphilis and HPV that there is either a vaccination or cure, they’d rather see the consequences of sex (just as they attack non procreative sex), than understand that important medical interventions that ease suffering IS morally sound and a gift from committed and brilliant medical researchers and doctors.

We live in a fortunate age where treatment for all kinds of scary diseases is very effective.
Especially for people who take information and education to heart in proactive lifestyles.

I think is beyond despicable that so much FEAR is the foundation of religious belief, even the fear of education that can save lives in the tangible sense.

But the MISINFORMATION that put people at risk, such as that ONLY gay people get AIDS, or that condom use or vaccinations are not to be trusted is unforgivable insanity.


November 11th, 2011

Is it .35% or .035%?

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