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30 January 2012
HPV infection much higher among men
by George Atkinson

Men are significantly more likely than women (10 percent vs 4 percent) to be carrying an oral HPV infection, according to findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Oral HPV infection is known to cause a 50-fold increase in risk for cancers of the mouth and pharynx. The incidence of these types of cancer has significantly increased over the last three decades and HPV has been directly implicated as the underlying cause.

The new research showed that the prevalence of oral HPV infection had peaks in different age ranges, with a first peak observed among those 30 to 34 years of age and a second, higher peak among those aged 60 to 64 years. As noted previously, men had a significantly higher prevalence than women for overall oral HPV infection (10 percent vs 4 percent). Additionally, the prevalence of HPV was higher among current smokers and heavy alcohol drinkers and among former and current marijuana users.

The authors also found that oral HPV prevalence was associated with several measures of sexual behavior. The prevalence of HPV increased with the number of partners for any kind of sex.

The researchers say their findings provide evidence that oral HPV infection is predominantly sexually transmitted. "Taken together, these data indicate that transmission by casual, nonsexual contact is likely to be unusual," they conclude.

Discuss this article in our forum
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Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

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