Individuals Seeking Mpox Vaccination Are Also at Increased Risk of STIs, HIV
New research has found that many patients who are HIV-negative and seeking vaccination against mpox infection participate in behaviors that put them at high-risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and would benefit from HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) initiation.
Data from 81 self-administered, cross-sectional surveys were included. Participants included any adult aged 18 years or older who were seeking mpox vaccination at an urban academic center in New Haven, CT from August 18, 2022 to November 18, 2022 and voluntarily agreed to complete the survey.
Of the 81 total participants, 93.8% (n = 76) were cisgender male, 60.8% (n = 48) were White, and 11.5% (n = 9) self-reported being positive for HIV infection. The median age of participants was 28 years and the median number of sexual partners in the previous 6-month period before the survey was four.
The researchers found that the majority of participants engaged in what is considered a high-risk behavior for STI infection, including behaviors regarding sexual practices, prior health history, and substance use.
Insertive anal intercourse was reported in 69.6% of participants, whereas receptive anal intercourse was reported in 63.3% of participants. Participants who had a partner living with HIV was 12.3%. A lifetime history of any STI was reported in 40.7% of participants, and 12.3% of participants had an STI within the previous 6-month period. Of those who reported as HIV-negative, 34.2% had had a negative HIV test within the previous 3-month period. Moderate alcohol use was reported in 87.7% of participants, and the use of one or more illicit substances was reported by 55.8% of participants.
PrEP awareness was reported in 94.9% of the 79 respondents who completed this question. Of the 69 respondents who reported they were HIV negative, 48.1% reported use of PrEP, of which 75% reported full adherence to the medication.
The authors note that the demographics of the study participants may limit external generalizability of these results. Of all the individuals the survey was offered to, a minority voluntarily agreed to participate. Additionally, individuals seeking mpox vaccination may not have the barriers to care that other individuals who would benefit from PrEP use would.
“Our cross-sectional survey highlights that individuals who were at risk for mpox infection and sought vaccination were also at risk for HIV infection,” the researchers concluded. “Furthermore, we found critical HIV prevention gaps and opportunities among individuals seeking mpox vaccination that could be addressed in the same context.”
Ogbuagu O, Sharma M, Igiraneza G, Andrews L, Tuan J, Barakat LA. HIV risk profile and prevention needs of individuals seeking monkeypox (mpox) vaccination in an urban clinic in the US: a brief report. BMC Infect Dis. 2023;23(146). doi:10.1186/s12879-023-08075-5.