Anal cancer screening behaviors and intentions in men who have sex with men

Gypsyamber D'Souza, Robert L. Cook, David Ostrow, Lisette M. Johnson-Hill, Dorothy Wiley, Tony Silvestre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The incidence of anal cancer has increased in the past decade, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM) and HIV-infected individuals. There is controversy about whether to routinely screen for anal cancer in MSM. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether current anal cancer screening behaviors, intention, and concern differ by HIV serostatus and to identify characteristics of men who intend to seek anal cancer screening. DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional analysis of data collected from 901 HIV-infected and 1,016 HIV-uninfected MSM from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) in 2005-2006. MEASUREMENTS: Self-reported anal cancer screening history, attitudes, and intentions. RESULTS: A history of anal warts was relatively common in these men (39%), whereas having a recent anal Pap test (5%), intention to seek anal cancer screening in the next 6 months (12%), and concern about anal cancer (8.5%) were less common. Intention to seek anal cancer screening was associated with enabling factors (screening availability, health insurance), need factors (HIV-infection, history of anal warts), concern about anal cancer, and recent sexual risk taking. Among four large US cities, there was significant regional variability in anal cancer screening behaviors, intention, and concern (all p<0.001). Most MSM (76%) indicated they would go to their primary care physician for an anal health problem or question. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates a low rate of anal cancer screening and intention to screen among MSM. As more evidence emerges regarding screening, primary care physicians should be prepared to discuss anal cancer screening with their patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1452-1457
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Anal cancer
  • HIV infection
  • Health seeking behavior
  • Intention
  • MSM
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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