January 6, 2011
NMAC Applauds Approval of Vaccine to Prevent Anal Cancer FDA decision will have significant health implications, especially for people living with HIV and men who have sex with men
Washington, DC — On December 22 the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, for the prevention of anal cancer in people between the ages of 9 and 26. The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) applauds the FDA’s decision, believing it will have a significant impact on the health of both HIV patients and HIV-negative men who have sex with men.
While anal cancer is relatively rare, it affects men who have sex with men and people living with HIV at a significantly higher rate than the general public. According to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, gay and bisexual men are about 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with anal cancer than the general population, while that likelihood is almost 40 times higher for men living HIV.
What’s more, while anal cancer affects women at a higher rate than men, health outcomes are considerably poorer for men, particularly African American men. According to the National Cancer Institute, the 5-year survival rate among white women is approximately 71 percent, compared to only about 62 for white men. Among African American men, that number drops significantly to roughly 51 percent.
“The FDA’s decision to approve Gardasil for the prevention of anal cancer is a promising step for public health, particularly the HIV community,” said Paul Kawata, executive director of NMAC. “Anal cancer disproportionately affects men who have sex with men, and people living with HIV. The use of this vaccine could have a significant impact on both comorbidities and potential treatment costs within these populations.”
NMAC Press Contact:
(202) 483-6622 ext. 333