HPV and Men FAQs
HPV or genital human papillomavirus is one of the most common viruses that can be transmitted through sexual contact. Approximately 40 types of HPV can be transmitted through sexual contact. Those who are sexually active and have multiple sexual partners are prone to have HPV infection at some time in their lives. In men, the virus can infect the genital areas and the surrounding skin.
What health-related problems can HPV cause?
Most men who get infected with HPV very seldom develop symptoms. However, there are certain types of HPV that can cause genital warts (see picture of genital warts above). There are also types that can cause anal cancer or penile cancer. The types of HPV that can cause penile cancer are not the same as the ones that can cause anal cancer.
What are the signs and symptoms of HPV and men?
For genital warts the symptoms include the growth of tiny bumps that are shaped like cauliflowers and may appear as raised or flat. They are usually found in the groin, testicles, penis, anus, and thighs.
As for anal cancer, there are sometimes no symptoms at all. If symptoms do appear, they can include itching in the anal area, pain in the anus, anal bleeding or discharges, swollen lymph nodes in the groin or anal area, and changes in the shape of the stool or in the bowel habits.
In penile cancer, the early signs and symptoms include thickening of the skin in the penis or build up of tissues in the penile area, and changes in color of the skin of the penis. Later signs include a growth of a sore on the penis, which sometimes bleeds and is usually painful.
HPV and Men: how do you get HPV?
The most common mode of transmission for HPV infection is through genital contact, most often during anal and vaginal sex. Since symptoms very seldom develop, those who are infected pass on the infection without even realizing it.
What are the tests for HPV in men?
There are still no tests that are approved or designed to diagnose HPV in men.
What are the treatments for HPV in men?
Currently, there is still no cure or treatment for HPV, both in men and women. There are, however, treatments for the health-related problems that are brought about by the virus.
There are a lot of treatments for genital warts, such as topical medications, surgery, electrocautery, cryotherapy, laser vaporization, and trichloracetic acid. Warts usually recur several months after treatment, so one may need several wart treatment or a combination of the treatments.
Anal and penile cancers can be treated through chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. A combination of these treatments may be needed in some cases.
How can HPV infection be prevented?
Since the mode of transmission is through sexual contact, then the best way to prevent it is by practicing safe sex or by having only one sexual partner. Condoms can help prevent the spread of the infection. However, it is not a guarantee because not all the infected areas, such as the scrotum and groin, can be covered by a condom.
As with any disease, you should consult your doctor for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.