Is it true that a guy can be a carrier for the HPV virus and have no symptoms?

by Rachel on August 7, 2011

Is there a test a guy can take to see if he has it?

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

jakers August 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm

yes.also true for women

bjk August 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Yes it’s true that a guy can have HPV and not know it. Of the many strains of HPV only some produce warts. It he has a strain that is not wart producing he may not know it. There is not a blood test for him to know or not. If you have HPV many doctors will recommend your b/f or husband see a urologist. The urologist will put a solution on his genitals and use a special light to see if their are any changes in the skin that the naked eye can’t see. Their is new information daily regarding HPV, but some studies suggest that @ 70% of sexually active people have been exposed to HPV. These odds aren’t good, even if they are not totally accurate. The best way to protect you if you’re sexually active is use a condom all the time, and this isn’t 100%. The only way to prevent is abstinence.

Linda August 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Some HPV types cause benign skin warts, or papillomas, for which the virus family is named. HPVs associated with the development of common warts are transmitted environmentally or by casual skin-to-skin contact.

A separate group of HPVs are typically transmitted through sexual contact. Some sexually-transmitted HPVs, such as types 6 and 11, can cause genital warts. However, most HPV types that infect the genitals tend not to cause noticeable symptoms. Persistent infection with a subset of about a dozen sexually-transmitted HPVs, including types 16 and 18, can lead to the development of cancer of the cervix. HPV infection is a necessary factor in the development of nearly all cases of cervical cancer (Walboomers 1999). Some cancer-causing HPV types (particularly HPV-16) are also believed to cause a substantial fraction of other genital cancers, as well as some cancers of the mouth, throat and anus (Parkin 2006).

Notable HPV types and associated diseasesGenital HPV infection is very common, with estimates suggesting that up to 75% of women will become infected with one or more sexually-transmitted HPV types at some point during adulthood (Baseman 2005). Although condoms are highly effective for preventing the transmission of other sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), recent studies have concluded that condoms only offer limited protection against the transmission of genital HPVs (Holmes 2004). This may be due to the fact that HPVs can infect genital skin areas that are not covered by condoms.

Cervical Pap smear testing is used to detect HPV-induced cellular abnormalities. This allows targeted surgical removal of pre-cancerous lesions prior the development of invasive cervical cancer. In the absence of Pap testing or treatment, about 1% of women with genital HPV infections will eventually go on to develop cervical cancer. Although the widespread use of Pap testing has reduced the incidence and lethality of cervical cancer in developed countries, the disease still kills several hundred thousand women per year worldwide. It is hoped that a recently-approved HPV vaccine that blocks initial infection with several of the most common sexually-transmitted HPV types will lead to further decreases in the incidence of HPV-induced cancer (Lowy and Schiller 2006).

HPV-induced diseases
Skin warts
Common warts: Some “cutaneous” HPV types, such as HPV-1 and HPV-2, cause common skin warts. Common warts are often found on the hands and feet, but can also occur in other areas, such as the elbows or knees. Common warts have a characteristic cauliflower-like surface and are typically slightly raised above the surrounding skin. Cutaneous HPV types do not usually cause genital warts and are not associated with the development of cancer.
Plantar warts are found on the soles of the feet. Plantar warts closely resemble common warts.
Subungual or periungual warts form under the fingernail (subungual), around the fingernail or on the cuticle (periungual). They may be more difficult to treat than warts in other locations.
Flat warts: Flat warts are most commonly found on the arms, face or forehead. Like common warts, flat warts occur most frequently in children and teens. In people with normal immune function, flat warts are not associated with the development of cancer.
Genital warts
Genital or anal warts (condylomata acuminata or venereal warts) are the most easily recognised sign of genital HPV infection. Although a wide variety of HPV types can cause genital warts, types 6 and 11 account for about 90% of all cases (Greer 1995)(Gearheart et al, 2004). Most people who acquire genital wart-associated HPV types clear the infection rapidly without ever developing warts or any other symptoms. People may transmit the virus to others even if they don’t display overt symptoms of infection.

It is important to note that HPV types that tend to cause genital warts are NOT the same ones that cause cervical cancer.


Genome organization of human papillomavirus type 16, one of the subtypes known to cause cervical cancer. (E1-E7 early genes, L1-L2 late genes: capsid)About a dozen HPV types (including types 16, 18, 31 and 45) are called “high-risk” types because they can cause cervical cancer, anal cancer, vulvar cancer, head and neck cancers, and penile cancer. High-risk HPV types can cause intraepithelial neoplasias, or abnormal and precancerous cell growth, which can progress to cancer. HPV-induced cancers often have viral sequences integrated into the cellular DNA. Some of the HPV “early” genes, such as E6 and E7, are known to act as oncogenes that promote tumor growth and malignant transformation.

A history of infection with one or more high-risk HPV types is believed to be a prerequisite for the development of cervical cancer; according to the American Cancer Society, women with no history of the virus do not develop this type of cancer. However, most HPV infections are cleared rapidly by the immune system and do not progress to cervical cancer. Because the process of transforming normal cervical cells into cancerous ones is slow, cancer occurs in people who have been infected with HPV for a long time, usually over a decade or more (Greenblatt, 2005; Sinal and Woods, 2005).

Sexually-transmitted HPVs also cause a major fraction of anal cancers and a small fraction of cancers of the mouth and upper throat (known as the oropharynx) (see figure). Engaging in anal sex or oral sex may increase the risk of developing these types of cancers.

HPV-induced cancersAlthough it has been proposed that HPV may induce other forms of cancer, including breast cancer, colorectal cancer and non-melanoma skin cancer, a causal relationship between HPV infection and these cancer types has not yet been firmly established.

Respiratory papillomatosis
HPV types 6 and 11 can cause a rare condition known as recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, in which warts form on the larynx or other areas of the respiratory tract (Wu et al., 2003; Sinal and Woods, 2005). These warts can recur frequently, may require repetitive surgery, may interfere with breathing, and in extremely rare cases can progress to cancer (Moore et al., 1999; Sinal and Woods, 2005).

Cutaneous HPVs
Infection with cutaneous HPVs is ubiquitous (Antonsson 2000). Some HPV types, such as HPV-5, may establish infections that persist for the lifetime of the individual without ever manifesting any clinical symptoms. Like remora suckerfish that hitchhike harmlessly on sharks, these HPV types can be thought of as human commensals. Other cutaneous HPVs, such as HPV types 1 or 2, may cause common warts in some infected individuals. Skin warts are most common in childhood and typically appear and regress spontaneously over the course of weeks to months. About 10% of adults also suffer from recurring skin warts. All HPVs are believed to be capable of establishing long-term “latent” infections in small numbers of stem cells present in the skin. Although these latent infections may never be fully eradicated, immunological control is thought to block the appearance of symptoms such as warts. Immunological control is likely HPV type-specific, meaning that an individual may become immunologically resistant to one HPV type while remaining susceptible to other types.

Genital HPVs

A large increase in the incidence of genital HPV infection occurs when individuals begin to engage in sexual activity (see figure). The great majority of genital HPV infections never cause any overt symptoms and are spontaneously cleared by the immune system in a matter of months. As with cutaneous HPVs, immunity is believed to be HPV type-specific. A subset of infected individuals may fail to bring genital HPV infection under immunological control. Lingering infection with high-risk HPV types, such as HPVs 16, 18, 31 and 45, can lead to the development of cervical cancer or other types of cancer (Schiffman and Castle 2005). High-risk HPV types 16 and 18 are together responsible for over 70% of cervical cancer cases (Baseman and Koutsky, 2005; Cohen, 2005). Type 16 causes 41 to 54% of cervical cancers (Noel et al., 2001; Baseman and Koutsky, 2005) and accounts for an even greater majority of HPV-induced vaginal/vulvar cancers (Edwards et al., 2005), penile cancers, anal cancers and head and neck cancers (Bolt et al., 2005).

Perinatal transmission
Although genital HPV types are sometimes transmitted from mother to child during birth, the appearance of genital HPV-related diseases in newborns is rare. Perinatal transmission of HPV types 6 and 11 can result in the development of juvenile-onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (JORRP). JORRP is very rare, with rates of about 2 cases per 100,000 children in the United States (Sinal and Woods 2005). Although JORRP rates are substantially higher if a woman presents with genital warts at the time of giving birth, the risk of JORRP in such cases is still less than 1%.

Most people become infected with various cutaneous HPV types during childhood. Papillomaviruses have a sturdy outer protein shell or “capsid” that renders them capable of lingering in the environment for long periods of time. Avoiding contact with contaminated surfaces, such as the floors of communal showers or airport security lines, might reduce the risk of cutaneous HPV infection. Treating common warts soon after they first appear may also reduce the spread of the infection to additional sites.

Genital HPV infections may be distributed widely over genital skin and mucosal surfaces, and transmission can occur even when there are no overt symptoms. Several strategies should be employed to minimize the risk of developing diseases caused by genital HPVs:

Pap smear
Main article: Pap smear
Papanicolaou screening, colloquially known as “Pap” smear testing, is an effective strategy for reducing the risk of invasive cervical cancer. In March 2003, the US FDA approved HPV DNA testing as a primary screening tool for detecting high-risk HPV infections that may lead to cervical cancer. The HPV DNA test, which is marketed by Digene, can also serve as an adjunct to Pap smear testing, and may be ordered in response to abnormal Pap smear results. Detailed inspection of the cervix by colposcopy may be indicated if abnormal cells are detected by routine Pap smear.

It has been suggested that Pap smear screening for anal cancer might be of benefit for relatively promiscuous individuals, for example some sub-populations of gay men (Chin-Hong 2005).

Main article: HPV vaccine
On June 8th, 2006, the FDA approved Gardasil, a prophylactic HPV vaccine developed by Merck. The vaccine protects women against initial infection with HPV types 16 and 18, which together cause 70 percent of cervical cancers. The vaccine also protects against HPV types 6 and 11, which cause 90 percent of genital warts. The vaccine will cost about $360 for the three-shot course. The high cost may impair its benefits, particularly in less developed countries. Women aged nine through twenty-six can be vaccinated. GlaxoSmithKline is expected to seek approval for a prophylactic vaccine targeting HPV types 16 and 18 early in 2007. Since the vaccine will not protect women against all the HPV types that cause cervical cancer, it will be important for women to continue to seek Pap smear testing, even after receiving the vaccine.

Avoiding risky sexual behavior
The fact that prostitutes have much higher rates of cervical cancer than nuns was a key early observation leading researchers to speculate about a causal link between sexually-transmitted HPVs and cervical cancer. It remains clear that people with greater numbers of sexual partners are at increased risk of developing genital HPV-related diseases. Co-infection with other sexually-transmitted pathogens, such as HIV, may also increase the risk of developing HPV-related diseases.

Condoms offer at most a limited degree of protection against the initial transmission of HPV infections (Holmes 2004). On the other hand, some studies have suggested that regular condom use can effectively limit the ongoing persistence and spread of HPV to additional genital sites in individuals who are already infected (Moscicki 2005)(Bleecker 2005) [1]. Thus, condom use may reduce the risk that infected individuals will progress to cervical cancer or develop additional genital warts. Both Planned Parenthood and the Centers for Disease Control recommend condom use to reduce the risk of HPV-related diseases.

Ongoing research has suggested that several inexpensive chemicals might serve to block HPV transmission if applied to the genitals prior to sexual contact (Howett 2005). These candidate agents, which are known as topical microbicides, are currently undergoing clinical efficacy testing.

Avoiding smoking
Tobacco smoking increases the risk of developing of invasive cervical cancer, as well as other HPV-induced cancers. This is one of a large number of reasons not to smoke

jessi August 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

yes and they can’t be tested unless there r symptoms.

cdsfhc2002 August 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm

men and women both can have this and never exibit symptoms

Steffy August 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Most men who get genital HPV do not have any symptoms.

However, some types of HPV can cause genital warts.

At the moment, there is no test approved to detect HPV in men. However, there are ways to detect the most common problem caused by HPV in men, genital warts. Genital warts are usually diagnosed by visual inspection. Some health care providers may use a vinegar solution to help identify flat warts, although this test is not specific for warts. That means the test may falsely identify normal skin as a wart.

johncharlesrealty August 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I’m a guy and I got a couple bumps down there. I had them froze off.. Guess what, they grew right back… I could care-less about them. Guess what again – I always wore a condon, cuz I’m scared of cathcing HIV, and still ended up catching HPV..
Life is to short to worry about that stuff. Count my blessing its not HIV…

rotten2thecore247 August 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm

guys are always carriers of hpv, not women. dont get me wrong, women can give the disease to men, but we are not carriers. both men and women can have hpv with no symptoms. It is one of the most common std’s in the world next to aids. there are soooo many different forms of hpv. really, i dont think there is a proven test on guys to detect hpv unless there are physical signs. even condoms dont protect you 100 percent from this disease… PLEASE be careful.

bella's mum August 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm


shabug August 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm

yes so can women, just talked to my doc about it the other day

Greg August 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Yes, and the same goes for women too. In fact, thats how I initially got genital warts – but I did some research and found a way that worked for me to beat them.

Alli August 7, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Yes, men pass it to women a lot usually not aware that they have the virus because they are not showing and signs or symptoms. There currently is no test for men to detect HPV. Men usually find out they have HPV by developing genital warts, hand or feet warts.

Women can also pass the virus by showing no signs or symptoms. Women usually find out they have the virus by having an abnormal pap smear come back or developing genital warts.

It can take years to develop any symptoms of the virus. I got HPV about 5 years ago. After a year I developed cervical cancer and about 6 months ago I got genital warts. So it can take months, if not years, to show any symptoms.

judasrabbi August 8, 2011 at 12:06 am


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