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Prevalence of anogenital warts declines significantly in US adults attending STD clinics

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December 8, 2018

There was a significant decline in the prevalence of anogenital warts between 2010 and 2016 among adults who attended STD clinics, according to research findings published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Researchers noted significant declines in prevalence among women, men who have sex with women only (MSW) and men who have sex with men (MSM) and said declines in younger age groups were likely due to the implementation of HPV vaccination, which can protect against the two HPV types (6 and 11) that cause 90% of genital warts.

“In the United States, HPV vaccine uptake, or coverage, has increased over time: In a 2016 national survey of adolescents aged 13 to 17, 65% of girls and 56% of boys had received [at least one dose] of HPV vaccine, compared to 49% and 1%, respectively, in 2010,” CDC epidemiologist Laura M. Mann, MPH, and colleagues wrote. “In 2014, 17% of MSM) included in a National HIV Behavioral Surveillance survey self-reported receiving [at least one dose] of HPV vaccine, though this figure has not since been updated.”

For their study, Mann and colleagues collected data from 27 STD clinics in cities throughout the U.S. that participated in the CDC’s STD Surveillance Network. Patients’ self-reports determined sexual behavior. The trends in annual anogenital warts (AGWs) were described by sex and the sex of sex partners.

The researchers noted that the number of individuals attending the clinics declined during the study period. The median ages of study participants was 26 years for women, 29 years for MSW and 31 years MSM.

Mann and colleagues reported an overall decline in the prevalence of AGW in women from 2.3% in 2010 to 0.9% in 2016, with significant declines seen among women under age 40 years and nonsignificant declines seen in women older than age 39 years. The prevalence of AGW in MSW declined from 7.3% to 4.4% during the study period, with significant declines again restricted to patients aged 39 years or younger. The prevalence of AGW among all MSM fell from 6.2% to 2.9%, with significant decreases in all categories.

“While patients attending STD clinics are not likely to represent all persons with AGW, they remain an important population with a higher burden of STIs,” Mann and colleagues concluded. “Given the prophylactic efficacy and high population effectiveness of the HPV vaccine, and that age groups that were age-eligible for the HPV vaccine experienced the sharpest AGW declines, it is likely that the observed decline in the proportion of patients attending STD clinics with AGW is partially the result of U.S. implementation of HPV vaccination.”

They said other factors might have impacted trends, as declines were also observed in age groups that are not targeted for vaccination.

“Continued surveillance of AGW can help monitor the impact of vaccination and other prevention and control activities,” the researchers wrote. – by Bruce Thiel

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

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