What is HPV?

HVP is a very common Sexually transmitted infection – STI. It is very rife among men and women, aged between 15 and 60 years of age. There are many types of HPV, and most do not cause any serious problems. It is important to note that HPV is not the same as the herpes simplex virus HSV.

You can get HPV by having vaginal, oral, or anal sex, with someone who has the virus. It can also spread through close skin-to-skin touching during sex, even if your partner who may have the infection, shows no symptoms or signs.

Studies have shown that HPV is more common among women than men, mainly because the virus appears to thrive in the moist, warm confines of the vagina. Also, most men never seem to get symptoms. HPV often goes away on its own, but if it does not, there are some symptoms which might appear in men.

Some symptoms which men need to look out for

If HPV does not go away, look out for the following, anything new on the penis, scrotum, anus, mouth, or throat, including:

  • Warts, lumps, or sores.
  • Genital warts, or lumps.
  • Pain in the back of the throat.
  • Blisters, or sores in the mouth, and on the tongue.

Should you notice any of these, visit the doctor for a diagnosis and treatment, as you could expose yourself to a cancer risk.

Can HPV actually cause cancer?

Yes, it can, but HPV itself is not cancerous. If it does go away, there are certain types of cancer it can cause to grow. These include:

  • Cervical cancer in women.
  • Penile cancer in men.
  • Anal cancer in both men and women.
  • Throat cancer, and cancer at the base of the tongue.

All of these cancers are serious, and could be fatal. They also all come from HPV infections that did not go away. Many cancers grow very slowly, and there is no documented way to tell who will, or who will not, get cancer from an HPV infection. However, cancers from HPV in men is not as prominent as it is in women.

Are some men more prone to get cancers from HPV than others?

Yes, depending on their state of health, some men could be more likely to get cancers from HPV infections.

  • Men with weak immune systems who are subject to frequent bouts of colds and flu, including those living with HIV or aids.
  • Men who practise anal sex, are more likely to get anal HPV. The risk of developing anal cancer is also increased.

Treatment for warts and sores is available via a doctor’s prescription for topical ointments. Prevention from infections is suggested by experts, to always use a good quality condom for sexual exploits. It is better to be safe than sorry – as the age-old saying goes!

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