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Protecting the

Does a LGBTQ+ person need the HPV vaccine?

Everyone who is sexually active is at risk of human papillomavirus (HPV), regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.1 Even with the use of condoms, HPV infection can still occur through skin-to-skin contact or oral sex.2
Furthermore, HPV is a risk factor for anal cancer, oral and throat cancers, as well as genital warts, which disproportionately affect the LGBTQ+ community.1,3-5

How does HPV affect gay and bisexual men?

The rate of HPV infection among men who have sex with men is 2 to 5 times higher than men who only have sex with women.6

Men who have sex with men also face a higher risk of anal cancer compared to the general population. In fact, gay and bisexual men are 20 times more likely to develop anal cancer than heterosexual men.3

As HPV infection has a higher chance of developing into cancer in people with weakened immune systems, that means that HIV-positive men are more at risk of HPV-related cancer than HIV-negative men.7

How does HPV affect lesbian and bisexual women?

HPV can be transmitted through anal or vaginal penetration, intimate skin-to-skin contact between women, or by sharing sex toys.1

Therefore, women who have sex with women can contract the virus from an infected partner in the same ways heterosexual women can.5

However, women who have sex with women often think that they have a lower risk of contracting HPV. As a result, they are less likely to go for cervical cancer screenings or take action to prevent HPV compared to heterosexual women.5

How does HPV affect transgender people?

Transgender women who have undergone sex reassignment surgery to construct a new vagina and cervix may be at risk of developing cancer. This is because the vagina and cervix are usually created using skin from the penis, which can contract HPV.8,9

Moreover, transgender women have a significantly higher rate of anal HPV infection at 88.6%, which could potentially lead to anal cancer.8

Transgender men who still have a cervix also have a chance of getting HPV-related cervical cancer, even if they are undergoing hormone therapy.10

Are you at risk of HPV?