Right now, vaccines exist for hepatitis A and B, which cause liver disease, and for human papillomaviruses (HPV), the viruses that cause genital and anal warts and that may be the origin of certain cancers.
Hepatitis A and B
The vaccine against hepatitis A and B is free for men who have sex with men, regardless of their age.
Hepatitis A and B can be sexually transmitted if:
- You penetrate an anus, vagina or front hole.
- You get penetrated.
- You lick an ass.
- You share sex toys.
Hepatitis B is also transmitted by blood, for example, if you share drug works or have contact with an injury (cut, injection site, bite, wound) that’s contaminated with blood.
Since 2008, all children in fourth grade receive the vaccine against hepatitis A and B. If you haven’t been vaccinated or you don’t know if you have been vaccinated, talk about it with your doctor.
Protecting yourself against hepatitis A and B
The best ways to protect against hepatitis A and B are:
- Condoms, gloves and dental dams (for rimming and cunnilingus);
- Single-use drug equipment.
If you’re HIV-positive…
- You may need to repeat your hepatitis A and B vaccines. Talk about it with your doctor.
- Hepatitis A may cause symptoms that are more serious and harder to control.
- Hepatitis B may complicate your HIV treatment because of its effects on the liver.
In all cases, talk about it with your doctor.
Read the fact sheet on hepatitis A (CATIE, 2016).
Read the fact sheet on hepatitis B (CATIE, 2016).
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is a virus that comes in several varieties. Some cause genital warts, called condylomas, and others cause cancer. A vaccine exists to prevent infection. Since January 1, 2016, men age 26 and under who have sex with men can get vaccinated against human papillomaviruses (HPV) for free.
Most people who have had a sex life will have an HPV infection at some point in their lives. In most cases, the body fights off the infection and the person heals.
How is HPV transmitted?
How is HPV transmitted?
HPV can be transmitted by:
- Simple skin-to-skin rubbing;
- Anal or vaginal penetration;
- Oral sex (blow jobs, rimming or analingus, eating out a woman or cunnilingus).
Transmission can happen even if there are no warts (small bumps) on the person’s skin or mucus membranes of the penis, testicles, vulva, anus or throat.
There are two categories of HPV:
- HPV with low cancer risk;
- HPV with high cancer risk.
A sexually active person can be infected more than once by the same kind of HPV or by different types of the virus. Often, the person infected with HPV has no symptoms. They don’t know they’re infected. When symptoms appear, they generally disappear over time.
Condylomas are the most common symptoms. Condylomas are bumps or warts caused by HPV. They appear on the skin or mucus membranes of the penis, testicles, vulva, anus or throat. Most often, HPV condylomas are not dangerous, and the immune system eliminates them after a little while.
HPV infection with high cancer risk may disappear over time or may last several months or years. These types of HPV can cause pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions. For the moment, there is no test to detect these lesions, which may appear on the penis, scrotum, anus, mouth and throat.
Many reasons to get vaccinated
- HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection.
- HPV increases your risk of HIV infection.
- The risk of anal cancer is much higher for men who have sex with men.
- The risk of infection increases with the number of sex partners you have.
- The HPV vaccine is safe.
- The vaccine is free if you’re age 26 or under, whether you’re HIV-positive or HIV-negative.
Getting vaccinated between age 9 and age 26 has proven to be an effective way, in most cases, to prevent HPV with low cancer risk and with high cancer risk. The vaccine is less effective for men who are already infected when they’re vaccinated. If you want to get vaccinated, talk to your doctor about it.
How to protect yourself
The vaccine and condoms reduce your risk of infection. Condoms don’t totally protect against HPV. HPV can even be transmitted without penetration, meaning from simple skin-to-skin contact and contact with mucus membranes (in the genitals and throat).
10 questions /réponses sur la vaccination VPH à destination des HARSAH du Portail VIH/sida du Québec (in French only)
HPV Vaccine for men age 26 or under who have sex with men Brochure (MSSS, PDF, January 2016)
Human Papillomavirus (MSSS, 2015)
Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV). (MSSS, 2018)