One in four men have potential cancer-causing virus

Human papilloma virus is the commonest sexually transmitted infection in some countries. Now, a new study confirms just how prevalent this STI really is: Nearly half of men are infected with HPV, a new study published in JAMA Oncology reveals.

One in four men have potential cancer-causing virus

After analysing penile swabs from 1,868 men, the researchers discovered that 45 percent of them tested positive for some type of genital HPV infection.

Twenty-five percent of these men harboured at least one strain of high-risk HPV, which can cause cancers of the anus, penis, or oropharyngeal region — that is the middle part of the throat, including the soft palate, tongue, and tonsils.

High-risk HPV can also cause cervical cancer in women.

In most cases, the body will clear high-risk HPV infections from the system within one to two years, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. But in some cases, the infection can persist, leading to changes in cells that can progress to cancer.

It is recommended that young men receive the HPV vaccination through age 21.

Men who have sex with men should receive the vaccine through age 26.

Safe sex is key, too: While condoms can’t completely protect against transmission of the virus, consistent condom use has been linked to lower chances of spreading the infection.
Adapted from Men’s Health

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