Men can contract human papilloma virus (HPV). They get it the same way women do through the sexual act or skin-to-skin contact with the genital warts of someone who has HPV. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. HPV is contagious and is very common for both men and women.
Men who have healthy immune systems need not fear HPV. The Centers for Disease Control, states that more than half of all American men will get HPV at some point in their lives.
HPV cell changes in men are not noticeable, have no symptoms and the most common result will be genital warts. These genital warts appear around the anus, or on the tip of the penis, scrotum (testicles), groin area or thigh. They can vary in size and shape from small patches to larger more pronounced growths.
Genital warts may go away without treatment, or they may be treated. Once warts are treated or go away on their own, they can return if their body’s immune system has not suppressed the HPV virus. The most likely high-risk male group is that of the HIV positive, gay, or bisexual men.
There is no HPV test for men and as of the current time there are no HPV vaccines for men. HPV can lay dormant in a person’s body for a long period of time. It is important that there is no evidence that HPV positive can show that a partner has been unfaithful. HPV can be dormant and thus your partner could have contracted the disease long before she met you.
Something as common as HPV is difficult to avoid or prevent altogether, but there are a few things you can do to lessen your risk:
1. Limit your sexual partners and choose the partners who are as choosy as you are
2. Wear a condom when not in a long-term relationship. Although condoms do provide some protection against STD’s they do not provide complete protection from the HPV.
3. Avoid sexual contact with someone who has visible genital warts.
4. Encourage your wife or girlfriend to be screened and have a regular Pap test and if she is over 30 she should have a HPV test too.
Studies have also shown that men who are circumcised are at a lower risk for penile cancer than those who are not.
There is a vaccine marketed by Gardasil® for use by boys and men that does not have current data on whether or not the vaccine protects males or helps in preventing the spread of the disease to women.
Why isn’t there a HPV test for men?
We know that there is an HPV DNA screening test for women, but what about men? Why isn’t there a screening test for them too, after all they can get the same viruses? Men do contract HPV, but there is no body cavity area that has the cells needed to screen for HPV. Women receive the screening, usually while having a Pap test.
The cells of the cervix area are prime to gather cells for both the Pap test and for the HPV DNA test. Men on the other hand, have very little in the way of available genital cells in which to gather cells for screening for abnormal cell growth.