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HPV More Prevalent in Men

By on February 2, 2012

 HPV is especially a problem for American men.

About 7% of U.S. men and women ages 14-69 have oral human papillomavirus, but the prevalence is higher among men, researchers said.

HPV is passed on through genital contact, most often during vaginal and anal sex. HPV may also be passed on during oral sex and genital-to-genital contact. HPV can be passed on between straight and same-sex partners—even when the infected partner has no signs or symptoms.

A person can have HPV even if years have passed since he or she had sexual contact with an infected person. Most infected persons do not realize they are infected or that they are passing the virus on to a sex partner. It is also possible to get more than one type of HPV.

Oral HPV infection is the cause of a subset of oropharyngeal — relating to the mouth and pharynx — squamous cell carcinomas. Human papillomavirus positive mouth and throat cancer are associated with sexual behavior in contrast to HPV-negative mouth and threat cancer, which are associated with chronic tobacco and alcohol use.”

At least 90% of HPV-positive mouth and throat cancer are caused by high-risk HPV type 16 and oral infection confers an approximate 50-fold increase in risk for HPV-positive mouth and threat cancer.

Dr. Maura L. Gillison of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus and colleagues used data from a cross-sectional study as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009 to 2010, a statistically representative sample of the U.S. population.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found oral HPV prevalence was associated with several measures of sexual behavior, including those who ever reported having had sex versus not having sex.

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