International journal of dermatology 2016 6 3() doi 10.1111/ijd.13338
To evaluate the level of knowledge among men who have sex with men regarding human papillomavirus (HPV), anal cancer screening, and HPV vaccine.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2013 in Belgrade, Serbia, comprising 142 HIV-positive and 128 HIV-negative persons.
Of all participants, 34.8% had never heard of HPV infection; 43.3% of participants were informed that HPV infection might be asymptomatic, while 30.4% knew that HPV is not transmitted by towels/cloth. Furthermore, 45.9% answered that HPV is a cause of genital warts, while 28.9%, 14.4%, and 17.4%, respectively, answered that it can cause anal, penile, and oral cancers. Only one-fourth of participants knew that anal cancer is more frequent in homosexual men. More than 50% had not heard of anal Papanicolaou (Pap) smears, and less than 3% had ever had it. Almost 90% of participants did not know which physicians provide anal Pap smears. Less than one-third knew that regular anal Pap smears might prevent consequences of anal HPV infection. The majority of participants did not know that there is a vaccine against HPV and anal cancer. Less than 50% reported willingness to receive HPV vaccine. Knowledge was slightly better in HIV-positive men in comparison with HIV-negative ones.
Results point out the need for community efforts to promote knowledge about HPV, anal carcinoma, and anal Pap screening among men who have sex with men and their healthcare providers, and to increase the acceptance of HPV vaccine by the population.