Does HPV affect Men?

Much of the information about HPV virus (human papilloma virus) centers on women, since having the virus increases their risk of getting cervical cancer.

HPV virus in men can cause health problems, too. It’s important for men to understand how to reduce the risks of HPV infection

HPV infection can increase a man’s risk of getting genital cancers, although these cancers are not common.

HPV can also cause genital warts in men, just as in women.

More than half of men who are sexually active will have HPV at some time in their life. Often, a man will clear the virus on his own, with no health problems.

Risks of HPV Infection in Men

Some of the types of HPV associated with genital cancers can lead to cancer of the anus or penis in men. Both of these cancer types are rare, especially in men with a healthy immune system.

How common are HPV-related cancers in men?

Although HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, HPV-related cancers are not common in men.

Certain men are more likely to develop HPV-related cancers:

  • Men with weak immune systems (including those with HIV) who get infected with HPV are more likely to develop HPV-related health problems.

  • Men who receive anal sex are more likely to get anal HPV and develop anal cancer.

Can Men get tested for HPV?

No, there is currently no approved test for HPV in men.

Routine testing (also called ‘screening’) to check for HPV or HPV-related disease before there are signs or symptom, is not recommended by the CDC for anal, penile, or throat cancers in men in the United States. However, some healthcare providers do offer anal Pap tests to men who may be at increased risk for anal cancer, including men with HIV or men who receive anal sex.

If you have symptoms and are concerned about cancer, please visit us at Lakeshore Cancer Center.

Can Men get treated for HPV or health problems caused by HPV?

There is no specific treatment for HPV, but there are treatments for health problems caused by HPV.

Genital warts can be treated by your healthcare provider, or with prescription medication.

HPV-related cancers are more treatable when diagnosed and treated promptly.

How can Men lower their chances of getting HPV?

There are two steps you can take to lower your chances of getting HPV and HPV-related diseases:

  • Get Vaccinated : The HPV vaccine is safe and effective. It can protect men against warts and certain cancers caused by HPV. Ideally, you should get vaccinated before ever having sex (see below for the recommended age groups). CDC recommends 11 to 12 year olds get two doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV.
  • Use condoms the correct way every time you have sex. This can lower your chances of getting all STIs, including HPV. However, HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom, so condoms may not give full protection against getting HPV. There can be skin to skin transmission.

Can I get the HPV vaccine?

HPV Vaccination is recommended accordingly:

  • All boys at age 11 or 12 years (or as young as 9 years)

  • Older boys and men through age 21 years, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger

  • Men with HIV or weakened immune systems through age 26 years, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.

  1. Get vaccinated and protect your female partner from cervical cancer.

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