Several AIDS organizations, the HPV Foundation, and two medical companies have collaborated to form the National HPV Co-Infection Alliance to raise public awareness of the dangers of HIV and human papillomavirus coinfection, Women's Health Weekly reports. HPV is the world's most common sexually transmitted disease and is present in as many as 90% of HIV-positive gay men. About half of all sexually active gay men are believed to be infected with HPV.
Many healthy people are able to clear the virus from their bodies without experiencing such symptoms as genital or anal warts, but HPV experts say people with damaged immune systems may never be able to fight off the infection and could be prone to ongoing complications. HPV has been shown in previous studies to be the leading cause of cervical cancer in women.
The newly formed alliance--comprising health officials, pharmaceutical and biotechnology experts, and representatives of AIDS service organizations--aims to educate the public about HPV and to seek financial support for HPV research. An initial nationwide campaign called "Get Tested, Get Treated" will begin this fall and will include public service announcements and symposia for health care providers.