Source: Prof Anna R Giuliano PhD, et al. “Incidence and clearance of genital human papillomavirus infection in men (HIM): a cohort study”, The Lancet, (March 2011).
The study examines the rate at which Human Papillomaviruses (HPV) occurred in men residing in Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. HPV can, in some circumstances, cause genital warts and cancers in men. A total of 1,159 men participated in the study. Participants in the study were HIV negative and reported no history of cancer and were recruited from the general population, universities, and organized health-care systems. They were assessed every 6 months for a median follow-up of 27.5 months. The goal in this study was to estimate incidence and clearance of type-specific genital HPV infection in men, and to assess the associated factors.
- 50% of men in the study were found to be infected with HPV.
- Median duration of HPV infection was 7.5 months for any HPV and 12.2 months for HPV 16, a common, cancer-causing type of the virus.
Previous data and studies around HPV have mostly focused on women, but this study confirms what is commonsensical: that rates of HPV infection are also very high in the male population. The study’s findings reaffirm the importance of safe sex practices as well as getting tested for STDs with your partner before engaging in sexual contact. The study also increases the awareness that STDs can be asymptomatic.
Furthermore, the study raises the issue of whether vaccination against HPV should be recommended, or even mandatory, for both men and women. Dr. Anna Giuliano, a researcher on the study, stated, "The greater the proportion of the population that is vaccinated, both males and females, the greater the total reduction in infection in the community…communities with higher proportions of vaccinated individuals will experience more dramatic and faster declines in both infection and diseases caused by HPV infections."1
1 Neharika Sabharwal, “50% of men may be infected with HPV—study”, The Med Guru, March 2011< http://www.themedguru.com/20110302/newsfeature/50-men-may-be-infected-hpv-study-86143857.html>