• March 17, 2011 – 12:04

    Half of adult males may have HPV

    A recent study published in the March 1 online edition of the Lancet, found that half of adult males in the United States, Brazil, and Mexico may be infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV has been linked to cervical cancer and other tumors. The study, funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, found that having multiple female or male sex partners significantly increased the risk of HPV infection in males. It also pointed out that about 6 percent of men are newly infected with HPV16 each year.

    HPV16 is the virus which causes several cancers in men and cervical cancer in women. In 2009, 32,000 cases of cancers in American men and women were attributable to HPV infection. HPV infection has been tied to cancers of the penis, vulva, anal canal, head and neck, cervix, vagina, oral cavity.

    The study was comprised of 1,159 men in the United States, Mexico, and Brazil, who were HIV negative and reported no history of cancer, aged 18 to 70.The researchers found that men who had 50 or more female partners were at 2.4 times increased risk for cancer-causing HPV infection versus one with one or no partners.The risk for men who had at least three male anal sex partners was 2.6 times higher than men with no recent partners.

    However, to this point HPV vaccination has been uncommon in males. The cost-benefit ratio of vaccinating men against HPV has not yet been established. It should be noted that as more diseases are prevented through vaccinating males,routine vaccination for both sexes should prove more cost effective.According to various sources, HPV infects over20 million people in the U.S.

    These findings should help public health experts, healthcare providers, and key thought leaders determine the value of widespread HPV vaccination of males in the United States and countries around the world.Healthcare providers have been quoted as saying that vaccinating boys and men (as done in Europe and Australia) is an important next step. This would not only protect boys and men from the disease, but as carriers of HPV, vaccination would also protect girls and women.

    Reference: The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 1 March 2011. Incidence and clearance of genital human papillomavirus infection in men (HIM): a cohort study. Prof Anna R Giuliano PhD, Ji-Hyun LeeDrPH, William Fulp MS, Prof Luisa L Villa PhD, Prof Eduardo Lazcano PhD, Mary R Papenfuss MS, Martha Abrahamsen MPH, Jorge Salmeron MD, Gabriella M Anic MSPH, Dana E Rollison PhD, Danelle Smith MS
    Available on the World Wide Web at: http://annonc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/01/25/annonc.mdq695.full.pdf+html