Human Papillomavirus Virus in Men

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One of the commonest sexually transmitted infections is human papillomavirus (HPV) which often lead to cancer. The general believe is that it is only the female that is mostly affected by this infection, however; findings have shown that men can also be infected with HPV. In female, HPV causes cervical cancer.

HPV is a group of over 100 viruses which affect the skin and moist membranes that line the body. There may be no symptoms of the infection in some men HPV; warts may however appear on the penis, testicles, anus, groin and thighs as well as the back of the throat.
Mode of transmission

Men like women can be infected with HPV through direct, intimate contact, including sexual contact. It can spread from one person to another through oral, anal or vaginal sex or intimate skin-to-skin contact.



Risk factors

The risk of contracting HPV is high in people:

With multiple sexual partners

Adolescence or young adulthood

With weakened immune system due to organ transplant, HIV, or other conditions that weaken the immune system
Not circumcised

With damaged skin


Complications of HPV in men

Some HPV usually disappear on their own within 2 years. As a matter of fact, 90 percent of HPV infections disappear with the help of the body’s natural immune system without causing any harm.
However, while some types of HPV can cause genital warts, other types can cause cancers.

In men, HPV is thought to be responsible for:

§ Over 90 percent of cases of anal cancer, which affect 1,500 men each year, come from HPV.
§ HPV is responsible for over 60 percent of penile cancers, and it affects around 400 men each year.

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§ Oropharyngeal cancer, which occurs in the back of the throat, the base of the tongue, and the tonsils. It affects around 3,920 men annually and about 70 percent of cases are due to HPV.

The risk of the complication is low in men who have sex with women only, men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to develop HPV-related anal cancer.
Men with a weakened immune system as a result of HIV or other reasons have a higher chance of developing HPV-related anal cancer.

Similarly, men with HIV tend to have more severe genital warts that are difficult to treat.



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