October 22, 2017

Oral HPV Infection is Prevalent in Adult Men

A population study was published in October 2017 revealing a high prevalence of oral HPV infection in men between ages 18 - 69 years.

This study is important because HPV is known to increase the risk of not only cervical cancer, but also oral and throat cancer. And in young adults under 50 years, it causes more throat cancer than even smoking. [more info]

From a public health policy concern, more importantly, it is also "contagious" in that one partner can transmit their HPV infection to their partner via sexual contact.

Here are some key statistics the study revealed.

• The overall prevalence of oral HPV infection was 11.5% in men and 3.2% in women (equating to 11 million men and 3.2 million women nationwide).
• High-risk oral HPV infection was more prevalent among men (7.3%) than women (1.4%).
• Oral HPV 16 was 6 times more common in men (1.8%) than women (0.3%) (1.7 million men vs. 0.27 million women).
• Among men and women who reported having same-sex partners, the prevalence of high-risk HPV infection was 12.7% and 3.6%, respectively.
• Among men who reported having 2 or more same-sex oral sex partners, the prevalence of high-risk HPV infection was 22.2%.
• Oral HPV prevalence among men with concurrent genital HPV infection was fourfold greater (19.3%) than among those without it (4.4%).
• Men had 5.4% greater predicted probability of high-risk oral HPV infection than women.
• The predicted probability of high-risk oral HPV infection was greatest among black participants, those who smoked more than 20 cigarettes daily, current marijuana users, and those who reported 16 or more lifetime vaginal or oral sex partners.

Beyond the obvious of avoiding high risk sexual behavior, one intervention to minimize risk of HPV infection as well as transmission between individuals is to get the HPV vaccine (i.e., gardasil). Ideally, the vaccine should be given during the tween years (ages 11-12 years) BEFORE sexual activity occurs. [More Info]

Of note there are currently 3 FDA approved HPV vaccines and both boys and girls can benefit:

• The bivalent HPV vaccine (Cervarix) which addresses HPV 16 and 18;
• The quadrivalent HPV vaccine (Gardasil) which prevents four HPV types: HPV 16 and 18, as well as HPV 6 and 11;
• And finally Gardasil 9 which prevents 9 HPV types: 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

Oral Human Papillomavirus Infection: Differences in Prevalence Between Sexes and Concordance With Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection, NHANES 2011 to 2014. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 17 October 2017] doi: 10.7326/M17-1363
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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