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HPV in men

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Although HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) infection is more of a woman problem, nonetheless men are not sparedfrom the virus. Therefore, men should also be careful about contracting HPV infections. The HPV virus can lead to cancer in men. More than half of sexually active men, can contract the virus once in their lifetime. In most cases, the infection clears off on its own and does not lead to any further complications.

We shall discuss the details of HPV infection in males and learn more about the risk involved.

What are the symptoms of HPV infection in men?

Some men who get  anHPV infection may not find any noticeable symptoms and it goes away without treatment while in others the virus stays in the body for an extended time to give rise to the following symptoms:

  • Characteristic genital warts in penis, groin, anus, testicles, thighs, etc. which are not painful
  • Anal cancer having symptoms like pain and itching in the anus, bleeding and swelling in the anus
  • Soreness on the penis, lump or piling up of tissues in the penis and bleeding is attributed to penile cancer
  • HPV infection can also cause cancer in the throat with symptoms like pain and swelling in the throat, hoarseness in voice, constant coughing, etc.

How is HPV infection contracted by men?

HPV gets transmitted by sexual contact with HPV infected men and women. It can spread from skin-to-skin contact with the penis, vagina, vulva, or anus of an infected person. Having oral sex with an HPV victim can also pass on the virus. HPV is not carried by blood.

Who are at risk of having an HPV infection?

  • Studies reveal that gay and bisexuals are 17% more at risk of acquiring an HPV infection (anal cancer) than normal men who have a single woman sexual partner.
  • Men with weak immune system like those infected with HIV/AIDS are more likely to get genital warts

How is HPV infection diagnosed in men?

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There’s no full proof diagnostic test that can detect HPV infection in men, neither men are screened for HPV infection. However, you must report to your doctor if you notice abnormalities in your penis, anus or any of those aforementioned symptoms. Your doctor will physically examine your genitals to confirm presence of warts.

In some advanced countries, doctors recommended an anal pap test to check for anal cancer, especially for the gay and bisexual group. The test involves collecting cells from the anus for microscopic analysis of cancerous and precancerous cells.

Is there any treatment for HPV vaccine in men?

Your doctor might not recommend a treatment if the infection is not severe. Even genital warts are likely to disappear on their own. The other options for treating the genital warts are medicated ointments and creams, cryofreezing and surgical removal. There’s no medical treatment directed against the HPV virus. If the infection has progressed to cancer, then you might have to undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Can HPV infection be prevented in men?

CDC recommends three doses of the HPV vaccine for boys and men through 26 years of age. The approved vaccine is Gardasil and it’s especially strongly recommended to men falling under high risk group. Immunity is the only prevention measure for those who have not been affected.

Your doctor will advise you to be careful about choosing your sexual partner. If you are aware that your partner is HPV infected, then refrain from having any form of sexual contact. Use of condom, although can lower the risk of infection, it does not offer 100% protection against the HPV virus.

HPV virus infections are usually temporary and get clear on their own. However, do not think, getting an HPV infection means you or your partner have intimate relationships outside the relationship in most cases. There is no way to judge how long have you been infected and who gave who an infection. Thus, discuss maturely with your partner and try to reduce all the risk of STDs and future infections.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: April 19, 2015