Human Papillomavirus Seroprevalence and Seroconversion Among Men Living With HIV: Cohort Study in South Africa

Admire Chikandiwa, Helena Faust, Matthew F. Chersich, Philippe Mayaud, Joakim Dillner, and Sinead Delany-Moretlwe


Men living with HIV (MLHIV) have a high burden of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancer. Understanding serological dynamics of HPV in men can guide decisions on introducing HPV vaccination and monitoring impact. We determined HPV seroprevalence and evaluated factors associated with HPV seroconversion among MLHIV in Johannesburg, South Africa.


We enrolled 304 sexually active MLHIV 18 years and older and collected sociobehavioral data, blood samples (CD4+ counts, HIV-1 plasma viral load, and HPV serology), and genital and anal swabs [HPV DNA and HPV viral load (VL)] at enrollment and 6-monthly for up to 18 months. Antibodies to 15 HPV types were measured using HPV pseudovirions. Generalized estimating equations were used to evaluate correlates of HPV seroconversion.


Median age at enrollment was 38 years (IQR: 22–59), 25% reported >1 sexual partner in the past 3 months, and 5% reported ever having sex with other men. Most participants (65%) were on antiretroviral therapy (ART), with median CD4+ count of 445 cells/µL (IQR: 328–567). Seroprevalence for any HPV type was 66% (199/303). Baseline seropositivity for any bivalent (16/18), quadrivalent (6/11/16/18), and nonavalent (6/11/16/18/31/33/45/52/58) vaccine types was 19%, 37%, and 60%, respectively. At 18 months, type-specific seroconversion among 59 men whose genital samples were HPV DNA positive but seronegative for the same type at enrollment was 22% (13/59). Type-specific seroconversion was higher among men with detectable HIV plasma viral load (adjusted odds ratio = 2.78, 95% CI: 1.12 to 6.77) and high HPV VL (adjusted odds ratio = 3.32, 95% CI: 1.42 to 7.74).


Seropositivity and exposure to nonavalent HPV types were high among MLHIV. HPV vaccination of boys before they become sexually active could reduce the burden of HPV infection among this at-risk population.

May 18, 2020
Year of publication
Resource types
Journal and research articles
HIV pandemic, HPV-HIV co-infection, vaccines

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