Background Human papillomaviruses (HPV) immunisation programmes for female adolescents in the UK offer relatively little benefit to men who have sex with men (MSM). Targeted HPV vaccination for MSM may reduce the high incidence of HPV-related disease among MSM. We used national data from sexual health clinics to calculate the number of MSM attending these clinics throughout England from 2009 to 2014 and to identify their characteristics, to inform the implementation of a targeted HPV vaccination programme in MSM.
Methods We used the Genitourinary Medicine Clinic Activity Dataset (GUMCADv2) to obtain data for men aged 15–70 years who had attended a GUM clinic in England from 2009 to 2014. We analysed both numbers of MSM attending and number of GUM attendances, age at first attendance, ethnicity and geographical area of the clinic in England.
Results A total of 374 983 MSM attended sexual health services in England between 2009 and 2014. Median age of presentation was 32 years (IQR 25–41) and showed regional geographical variation. Of all men attending sexual health clinics in England, the highest proportion of those identifying as MSM was in London (21%). Excluding visits within 1 month of an initial attendance, 49% of all MSM re-attended within 12 months and 58% within 24 months. MSM aged ≥36 years reattended more frequently than younger MSM. 51% reattended at least twice within 24 months of initial visit.
Conclusions The majority of MSM reattend clinic at least once within a 24-month period, potentially facilitating the delivery of a three-dose HPV vaccination programme. This would reduce the burden on sexual health clinics and cost to local authorities due to extra visits if HPV vaccination were to be delivered through these services.
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Handling editor Jackie A Cassell
Twitter Follow Jake Bayley @drjakebayley
Contributors JB and DM performed the analyses of the data. JB, DM and TN wrote the manuscript. KS and GH provided expert opinion and editing suggestions.
Funding This piece of research was funded from a research fellowship in collaboration with Public Health England and British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent As GUMCADv2 is a routine public health surveillance activity, no specific consent was required from the patients whose data were used in this analysis.
Ethics approval PHE has permission to handle data obtained by GUMCADv2 under Section 251 of the UK National Health Service Act of 2006 (previously Section 60 of the Health and Social Care Act of 2001), which was renewed annually by the ethics and confidentiality Committee of the National Information Governance Board until 2013. Since then the power of approval of public health surveillance activity has been granted directly to PHE.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement GUMCADv2 is a national surveillance and monitoring database which is open to those who work for Public Health England. Data are shared among all those who prepare reports and documents into the trends and epidemiology into STIs and HIV in England.
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