With all of the uproar about young women, hpv and vaccines, I was curious to know are men affected by HPV?

by Rachel on April 12, 2011

Are women the only sufferers of HPV? Are men affected or are they just carriers? I’ve seen alot of commercials and articles about it and how it relates to women but never read anywhere if it affects men.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindi A April 12, 2011 at 1:29 am

Yes, men can be infected and also transmit the disease. They get genital warts and you can see them at times on a infected penis. I don’t believe they become cancerous in men.

Rochelle T April 12, 2011 at 2:05 am

Yes, men can be affected.
They can have genital warts, which is a common sign of carrying hpv.
however, women can carry hpv, and later develop cancer.
If you think you may have hpv, please see your doctor.

anytime you sleep with someone, you carry the risk of contracting any disease, but nowadays, they are fatal, and no antibiotics will cure you. also, you can pass this on, and not even know it…

Alli April 12, 2011 at 2:32 am

Men can also be directly affected by HPV just like women. Men can develop genital warts and can also RARELY develop penile and anal cancer.

About 1,000 men worldwide are diagnosed with penile cancer every year and about 10,000 women in the US ALONE are diagnosed with cervical cancer. 4,000 of those women will die from it. Cervical cancer is a lot more common then penile cancer.

The reason why HPV and the vaccine seem like they are targeted more towards women is because unfortunately they are the ones who are usually more affect by the virus. The vaccine protects a women from contracting 4 different kinds of HPV. Two of those kinds are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases. That is why the vaccine is being pushed so much for young girls to get.

Check out the link below for more information:

Take care!

I K April 12, 2011 at 2:42 am

There are different types of hpv. some cause genital warts and some cause cervical cancer. Men can have the ones that cause warts. Men can have the one that causes cervical cancer but since men don’t have a cervix they can’t get that type of cancer and don’t manifest symptoms. They can however get anal cancer if they participate in anal sex. There haven’t been enough studies done on men for the fda to allow them to be vaccinated. So far studies show it’s safe for women under 26. I suspect after more research older women and males will also receive the vaccine. It’s worth preventing cancer and warts.

Mary Grace April 12, 2011 at 2:55 am

Men don’t have the cancer risk, they just get the other physical symptoms like obvious warts, itching, and painful urination.

hitome April 12, 2011 at 3:21 am

About 1% of sexually active men in the U.S. have genital warts at any one time.
Penile cancer is rare, especially in circumcised men. In the U.S., it affects about 1 in every 100,000 men. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated that about 1,530 men would be diagnosed with penile cancer in the U.S. in 2006.

More information avaiable at http://www.positivesingles.com

tarnishedsilverheart April 12, 2011 at 3:26 am

For the past several decades researchers have studied more on genital HPV types and the affect they have in women due to cervical, vulva, vaginal cancers and anal cancers.

We are just beginning to see more studies on how HPV affects the male. HPV can cause cancer of the head neck throat and mouth, in rare cases cancer of the penis. We know we need to prevent HPV in the male but we need to learn more about how it is transferred, how long a man keeps the virus and were to screen for the virus. Here are a couple of recent articles.

Masculine side of HPV
Human papillomavirus is common in men too. Studies are underway to determine if a male vaccine is needed.
By Shari Roan, Times Staff Writer
March 19, 2007

With human papillomavirus, girls and women have been getting all the attention.

Parents across the nation have rushed to have their daughters vaccinated against the virus. States are wrestling with whether to require that adolescents get the vaccine. And recent research found that many more girls and women are infected with human papillomavirus than was previously thought — more than one-quarter of females ages 14 to 59.

Now the attention is turning to boys and men.

As many as 60% of men ages 18 to 70 are infected with HPV, according to data not yet published, raising the question of whether the new vaccine will be effective in reducing diseases linked to the virus unless men, not just women, are immunized.

Several studies are underway to better understand the virus in males and whether the new HPV vaccine, Gardasil, also will work for them. As researchers already know and as the new data confirms, HPV is not just a women’s issue.

“With any transmittable disease, you want to understand the entire cycle of how things spread,” says Thomas Broker, an HPV expert and professor of biochemical and molecular genetics at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. “With HPV, men are clearly part of that equation.”

Human papillomavirus is best known for causing cervical cancer, with about 9,700 cases diagnosed in women in the U.S. each year.

Gardasil, a three-shot regimen, was approved last year for girls and women ages 9 to 26. It protects against four strains of the HPV virus that are most likely to cause cervical cancer and genital warts in women.

But much less is known about the consequences of HPV infection in men.

“We know they transmit it to women, but what is the rate of transmission?” says Anna Giuliano, a researcher at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Fla., who is leading three government-funded studies on HPV infection in men. She is also a paid speaker for Merck, the maker of Gardasil.

Several studies are attempting to address this question, as well as ones about what strains of HPV are most common in men. New data show that HPV infection is quite common in men of all ages, while the highest rates of infection in women tend to occur in the early 20s before declining and then spiking again in women in their 40s and 50s.

“We’re seeing a really high prevalence in men, and we see little change in prevalence across the age span,” says Giuliano, who found the 60% prevalence rate in one of her studies. That data will be published later this spring in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. “We need to know if women in their 40s and 50s are acquiring new infections from their partners.”

HPV infection isn’t inconsequential in men. Certain strains of the virus are known to cause genital warts in men as well as women.

And those infections are estimated to be the cause of about half of all anal, penile, vulvar and vaginal cancers and about 20% of the cause of all oral cancers, says Dr. Dean Blumberg, an associate professor of pediatric infectious disease at UC Davis. Blumberg is a member of Merck’s speakers bureau but does not get paid directly by Merck for his services. A speaker’s bureau is a roster of experts who provide educational lectures on particular topics.

About 28,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancers each year, and about 4,650 are diagnosed with anal cancer. Penile cancer affects about 1,500 men each year. Although the overall risk of those diseases is low, anal cancer in gay and bisexual men has been rising in recent years.

Worldwide, the consequences of HPV infection in both men and women are even more severe than in the United States, notes Broker, president of the nonprofit International Papillomavirus Society.

More women in developing countries die of cervical cancer than in the United States, he says. Moreover, “we need to know how much real disease men are getting. If you look worldwide, there are about 100,000 new cases of penile cancer each year.”

HPV-related cancer is also more common in people who have compromised immune systems, such as men who are HIV positive.

“This virus can cause cancers in a lot of different places,” says Blumberg. “But in terms of numbers, it doesn’t compare to the number of cervical cancer cases.”

But even if reducing rates of cervical cancer was the singular goal of HPV vaccination, some experts suggest that herd immunity — vaccinating everybody to reduce circulation of the virus in the population — will turn out to be the most successful approach.

“If you decrease HPV infection in men, then there will be decreased transmission to women also,” Blumberg says.

Merck is conducting studies of the vaccine’s ability to prevent infection in boys and men. Data on those trials may become available later this year, and the company hopes to apply to market Gardasil to boys and men some time next year.

Studies of Gardasil show that the vaccine provokes an even stronger immune response in boys than in girls, which implies that the vaccine will also prevent HPV infections, Blumberg says. But they have yet to show that boys are protected from HPV infection at satisfactory rates. Researchers are also examining whether the vaccine reduces cases of anal cancer in gay men.

There is “no guarantee” an HPV vaccine will work in men, Broker says, because the skin cells infected by the virus differ greatly in men and women.

Some people aren’t waiting for the results of those studies. High-risk men, such as gay and bisexual men, are reportedly requesting and receiving Gardasil vaccination from their physicians, Blumberg says.

Moreover, he says, “I’ve had nurses tell me they made sure their 15-year-old son was vaccinated because they wanted to decrease the chance of their future daughter-in-law having cervical cancer. They felt strongly about it.”

Historically, vaccination programs have had the most impact when they are gender-neutral.

For example, when the rubella vaccine was introduced in the late 1960s, it was recommended initially for women of child-bearing age because — while anyone can become infected — rubella in pregnant women causes serious birth defects.

However, the campaign was only partially effective and eradication of the disease was only achieved after the vaccine was recommended to both boys and girls.

GlaxoSmithKline plans to seek Food and Drug Administration approval next month for its HPV vaccine for girls and women, Cervarix.

And legislation requiring California girls to complete HPV vaccination before entering seventh grade was introduced last week by Assemblyman Edward Hernandez (D-West Covina). Another bill was proposed that would require health insurers to cover the cost of the vaccinations.

Lawmakers in as many as 20 other states have introduced similar proposals. But mandatory vaccination of school-age girls has generated controversy because some parents believe their daughters will not be exposed to the virus or that having the vaccination might encourage sexual activity.

Others object to mandating vaccination for something that is not easily transmitted (unlike chickenpox or measles) and because the shots are costly, about $360 for the series.

“Some people resent the fact that a mandate is targeting just one gender,” says Blumberg. “It does give the appearance of being unfair. We don’t have any other vaccine mandates that are gender specific.”


‘If you decrease HPV infection in men, then there will be decreased transmission to women also.’

— Dr. Dean Blumberg

Associate professor of pediatric infectious disease at UC Davis

Virus found under men’s fingernails, pointing to more ways of it

Controversy continues to plague efforts to protect young women
against cervical cancer by vaccinating them against HPV, the human
papillomavirus, but one leading scientist’s discovery could throw a
monkey wrench into the debate.

“We found HPV under the fingernails of young men,” said Dr. Laura
Koutsky, a University of Washington epidemiologist.

Koutsky led some of the pioneering research and clinical trials that
resulted in an HPV vaccine, Merck’s Gardasil, recently approved for
use in girls and young women. The reason her fingernail finding is a
potential bombshell has to do with why the vaccine is controversial.

HPV, which is the leading cause of most cervical cancers, is
primarily a sexually transmitted disease. Opponents of HPV vaccines
believe that immunizing girls against this virus sends the message
that engaging in sex at a young age is acceptable behavior.

The presence of HPV under fingernails, she said, at the very least
suggests another possible route of transmission. It’s an additional
route of infection, she said, that could explain some previous
apparent anomalies such as HPV infection in infants and young girls
who had not yet engaged in sexual activity.
Koutsky’s not quite sure what to make of the finding, which has yet
to be reported in a journal, but she said it is certainly “a

“In spite of (the debate), a considerable amount of the vaccine has
been distributed already,” said Dr. Lauri Markowitz, an expert on HPV
with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who spoke
this week at a Seattle meeting of the International Society for
Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research.

More than 40 states have enacted some kind of legislation to
encourage wider use of the HPV vaccine, Markowitz said, including a
few states, such as Washington, that have avoided the mandated
vaccine debate by simply offering the immunizations free.

The CDC, which recommends routine use of the HPV vaccine in females
between the ages of 9 and 26, estimates that 25 percent of all women
in the U.S. are already infected with the virus.

Not all HPV strains are equally likely to result in cancer, however.
The vaccine protects against four strains that are thought to be more
likely to cause cervical cancer. There are hundreds of types of HPV,
and most people have been infected by one or another. Most infections
have no symptoms and go unrecognized.

More severe forms of HPV can cause genital warts and penile and anal
cancers. Non-genital strains can cause head and neck cancers. But the
greatest cancer risk from HPV is to women. Cervical cancer, if
detected early by Pap smear, is treatable but still kills more than
4,000 women a year in the U.S. In the developing world, cervical
cancer is massive — the leading cause of cancer deaths of women,
killing nearly 300,000 annually.

The cultural and moral concerns of other countries are sometimes an
even bigger barrier to introducing new vaccines or health measures,
said Dr. Jacqueline Sherris, vice president at Seattle-based PATH, an
organization that specializes in the health needs of the developing
world. Widespread acceptance of a vaccine in the industrial world,
she added, can often be a necessary precursor to expanding its
lifesaving use in poor countries.
But opponents of making HPV immunization widespread argue that if a
young woman simply abstains until marriage, no vaccine is needed.
Koutsky’s finding may give pause to those arguing from this moral
perspective. If HPV can be found under fingernails, will these
daughters of chastity need to also abstain from a handshake?

There’s no evidence to support that kind of transmission, Koutsky
noted, but the finding of severe forms of HPV under the fingernails
of young men should serve as a reminder of how much we yet have to
learn about the behavior and transmission of the human

“Basically, it’s not just about sex,” Koutsky said. “You have to know
how people get it in order to prevent it.”

At some point, she predicted, it will become clear that boys and
young men should also be vaccinated against the virus. It would be
nice if just living a good, moral lifestyle could protect against
microbial invasion, Koutsky said. But right at your fingertips, she
said, might be a hint that this is just wishful thinking

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