HPV in Men
High-Risk and Low-Risk HPVHuman papillomaviruses are now recognized as being associated with cancer in men. But there are over 100 different types of HPV, so scientists have separated the types into those that are more likely to develop into cancer and those that are less likely. The so-called "high-risk" HPV types are more likely to lead to the development of cancer, while "low-risk" viruses rarely develop into cancer.
High-risk types of HPV can cause cell changes that can lead to anal cancer or penile cancer over time if the cell changes are left untreated. Having high-risk HPV is not the same thing as having cancer. Usually, these high-risk HPV types cause no health problems at all and go away on their own. Persistent high-risk HPV (an infection that does not go away) is the most important risk factor for cancer.
Low-risk types of HPV in men can cause genital warts, but do not cause cancer. Warts can form weeks, months, or years after sexual contact with a person who has genital HPV.
Protecting Yourself and OthersHPV infection can infect male and female genital areas that are covered by a condom, as well as areas not covered by the condom. Using condoms may reduce the risk of getting genital warts and cancer, but condoms may not completely protect you. The best way to protect yourself from HPV is to not have sex or to only have sex with one uninfected partner who also only has sex with you (i.e., a mutually monogamous relationship).
Although there is an HPV vaccine for women, there is no vaccine for men.
- About 1 percent of sexually active men in the United States have genital warts at any one time.
- Penile cancer is rare, especially in circumcised men. In the United States, it affects about 1 in every 100,000 men. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated that about 1,530 men would be diagnosed with penile cancer in the United States in 2006.
- Anal cancer is also uncommon, especially in men with healthy immune systems. According to the ACS, about 1,900 men will be diagnosed with anal cancer in the United States in 2007.