NEW ORLEANS — A small percentage of men who have sex with men (MSM) who have HIV were screened for anal cancer between 2009 and 2012, and these data may present a case for establishing screening guidelines in this at-risk population, according to research presented at IDWeek 2016.

Mark Freedman, DVM, MPH, of the US Public Health Service, and colleagues used data from the 2009-2012 Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) to help identify characteristics of 914 MSM who had HIV and who had been screened for anal cancer in the year before the interview. The researchers then used “Rao-Scott x2 tests to compare their demographics, clinical status, behaviors, and facility characteristics to 7515 MSM not screened for anal cancer,” according to the study abstract. 

“Race was associated with anal pap testing, with black non-Hispanic men having a significantly lower rate of anal pap testing compared with white men,” Dr Freedman noted. This disparity persisted despite the fact that there were no major differences in health coverage between the races.

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The researchers also noted that MSM who were current smokers had a lower rate of anal pap testing, but those men who reported receptive anal sex had a higher prevalence of pap testing. Eleven percent of MSM who had HIV had been screened for anal cancer in the year prior to the interview, Dr Freedman noted.

The researchers noted some limitations to their study, specifically that some of the men in the study may have received anal pap testing at another facility, and that their data did not differentiate whether anal pap testing was for screening or diagnostic purposes.

Dr Freedman also noted that self reported information was collected by face-to-face or telephone interviews and certain behaviors may be underreported due to social desirability bias.

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Freedman M, Weiser J, Beer Lr, Shouse RL. Anal Cancer Screening in Men who have sex with Men in Care for HIV infection, United States, 2009-2012. Presented at: IDWeek 2016. New Orleans, LA. Oral abstract 855.