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HPV in Men

What Are the Symptoms?

Genital warts are the main symptom for someone with genital HPV. However, many men infected with HPV (including those with low-risk types of genital HPV) have no symptoms at all. If genital warts do develop, they can grow:
 
  • On the penis, scrotum, thigh, or groin
  • In or around the anus.
     
Genital warts can also grow in the mouth or throat of a person who has had oral sex with an infected person, but this is rare. The size of genital warts varies -- some may be so small that you can't see them with the naked eye. Genital warts can be flat and flesh-colored or look bumpy, like cauliflower. They often occur in clusters or groups. They may cause itching, burning, and discomfort. It is also possible that warts may never appear.
 
In rare cases, a male infected with HPV that does not go away may develop penile or anal cancer.
 
Signs and symptoms of anal cancer may include:
 
  • Anal bleeding, pain, itching, or discharge
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the anal or groin area
  • Changes in bowel habits or in the shape of your stool.
 
Penile cancer symptoms or signs may include:
 
  • Changes in color, skin thickening, or a buildup of tissue on the penis.
  • A growth or sore on the penis. It is usually painless, but in some cases, the sore may be painful and bleed.

 

With both anal cancer and penile cancer, there may be no symptoms until the cancer is quite advanced.
 

Testing for HPV in Men

There currently is no approved test for HPV in men. An HPV diagnosis is made based on the presence of symptoms (when they exist), such as genital warts.
 
Some experts recommend yearly anal Pap tests for gay, bisexual, and HIV-positive men, since anal cancer is more common in these groups. This test can find abnormal cells in the anus that could turn into cancer over time. If abnormal cells are found, they can be removed. However, more research is needed to understand if anal Pap tests and treatment of abnormal cells prevent anal cancer in men.
 
You can check for any changes on your penis, scrotum, or around the anus. See your healthcare provider if you find warts, blisters, sores, ulcers, white patches, or other abnormal areas on your penis -- even if they do not hurt.
 

HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

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