What is HPV?
HPV is a virus that may be spread from one person to another person through oral, vaginal, or via anal sex, or through another close skin-to-skin touch during sexual activity. Though commonly seen in women, HPV in men is encountered as well by health professionals.
79 million Americans are infected with HPV, most in their late teens and early 20s. About all sexually active persons who do not take the HPV vaccine get an HPV infection at some point in their lives.
It’s essential to recognize that getting HPV isn’t the same thing as getting herpes or HIV.
How do men get HPV?
You can get HPV during sexual intercourse with someone who is infected with HPV.
This disease is spread during vaginal or anal intercourse and may also be spread through oral sex or another close skin-to-skin touch during sex.
HPV can be spread when an infected person has no symptoms or visible signs.
Will HPV cause health problems?
Most HPV infections do not pose any health issues and go away by themselves.
If an infection doesn’t go away, it’s likely to develop HPV symptoms years or months after getting infected.
This makes it difficult to know when you got infected. Uncured HPV infection can cause genital warts or certain sorts of cancer.
It’s not known why some people develop health problems, and others don’t.
What are the symptoms of HPV?
Most men who become HPV infected never develop symptoms, and the disease goes by itself. If HPV doesn’t go away, it can lead to certain sorts of cancer or genital warts.
Consult your health care specialist if you have any questions regarding anything new or unusual like warts, or lumps, abnormal growths, or sores in your anus, scrotum, penis, mouth, or throat.
What are the signs of genital warts?
Genital warts look like a small bump or group of bumps in the area around the anus or the penis.
These warts may be big or small, flat or raised, or shaped like a cauliflower. Warts may go away or remain the same, or increase in size or number. Usually, a healthcare provider can detect genital warts only by looking at them. Genital warts may come back, even after treatment.
The HPVs that cause warts do not cause cancer.
Can HPV cause cancer?
Yes. HPV itself isn’t cancer, but it can make changes in the body that lead to cancer.
HPV infections go away by themselves, but they could cause certain types of cancer to grow when they do not. These include anal cancer in both men and women, penile cancer in men, and cervical cancer in women.
HPV can also cause cancer at the throat back, including the below the tongue and tonsils (called oropharyngeal cancer). All these cancers are caused by HPV infections that did not go away.
After a person gets infected with HPV, cancer grows and might not be diagnosed until years or even decades.
There are not any means to know who will get a temporary HPV infection, and that will lead to cancer later on.
How common are HPV-related cancers in men?
However, HPV Is the most common sexually transmitted disease, HPV-related cancers aren’t common in men.
Some men are more likely to develop HPV-related cancers:
- Men with weak immune systems (including people with HIV) who get infected with HPV are more likely to create HPV-related health issues.
- Men who get anal intercourse are more likely to get anal HPV and lead to anal cancer.
Can I get screened for HPV?
No, there is presently no approved test for HPV.
Before there are symptoms or signs, routine testing for HPV or HPV-related disease isn’t suggested by the CDC for penile, anal, or throat cancer in males in the United States.
However, some health care specialists offer anal Pap tests to men who may be at higher risk for anal cancer, including men with HIV or men who indulge in anal sex.
If you have symptoms and are concerned about cancer, please visit a healthcare provider.
Can I get treatment for HPV or health issues caused by HPV?
There’s no treatment for HPV, but there are remedies for health problems caused by HPV.
Your health care provider can treat genital warts with prescription drugs. HPV-related cancers are more curable when diagnosed and treated quickly.
To find out more, visit www.cancer.org.
How can I reduce my chance of getting HPV?
There are two measures you can take to reduce your chances of getting HPV and HPV-related ailments:
- Get Vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is safe and effective. It may protect men against certain cancers and warts. Ideally, you should get vaccinated before having sex. CDC advises HPV vaccination at age 11 or 12 years (or can begin at age 9 years) and for everybody through age 26 years, if not already vaccinated. To learn more about the recommendations, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/hpv/public/index.html
- Use condoms in the right way each time you have intercourse. This can decrease your odds of getting all of STIs, such as HPV. However, HPV can have parts that are not covered by a condom, so condoms may not provide adequate protection against getting HPV.
Can I get the HPV vaccine?
In the United States, HPV vaccination is advised for:
- Preteens at age 11 or 12 years (or may begin at age 9 years)
- Everybody through age 26 years, if not already vaccinated.
Vaccination is not suggested for everyone older than age 26 years.
That said, some men age 27 through 45 years who are not already vaccinated may opt to get the HPV vaccine after consulting with their healthcare specialist about their risk for new HPV infections and the potential advantages of vaccination.
HPV protection in this age range offers less advantage.
Most sexually active men have already been exposed to HPV, but not inevitably all of the HPV types covered by vaccination.
At any age, getting a new sex partner is a risk factor for receiving a new HPV infection.
Those who are already in a long-term relationship are not expected to get a new HPV infection.
What does getting HPV mean for me or my sex partner’s health?
Consult a health care specialist if you have any questions regarding anything new or unusual (like warts, growths, lumps, or sores) in your or your partner’s anus, scrotum, penis, mouth, or throat.
Even if you’re healthy, you and your sexual partner(s) may also wish to get examined by a healthcare specialist for other STIs.
If you or your sex partner have genital warts, you should avoid having sex until warts are eliminated or gone.
It is unknown how long a person can spread HPV after warts are gone.
What does HPV mean for my relationship?
HPV Infections are often temporary. Someone may have had HPV for years before it causes health issues.
If your spouse is diagnosed with an HPV-related disease, there’s no way to know how long you have had HPV if your partner gave you HPV, or you gave HPV to your partner.
HPV is not indeed a sign that one of you is having sex with someone else.
Sex partners must discuss their sexual health and risk for all STIs, with each other.