HPV Infection in Men: Site-Specific Prevalence and Risk Factors

August 1, 2008

The prevalence of anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection was 24.8% among a study population of 222 heterosexual men who confirmed that they had never engaged in male-male sexual intercourse. 1


The prevalence of anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection was 24.8% among a study population of 222 heterosexual men who confirmed that they had never engaged in male-male sexual intercourse. 1 Of those infected, 33.3% had an oncogenic HPV type and were thus at risk for the development of anal cancer (the incidence of which, the study authors pointed out, has been increasing over the past 3 decades). The risk of anal HPV infection among the study participants correlated with the number of female sex partners they had and the frequency of sex with those partners during the month preceding the study.

Another study showed that uncircumcised men were at higher risk for HPV infection than their circumcised peers.2 The study analyzed specimens from 351 men (mean age, 29) to identify site-specific prevalence of HPV infection in outer male genitalia. About 77% of the men were heterosexual, and 53% reported a total of 6 or more female sex partners during their lifetimes. The sites most frequently infected were the penile shaft (52%), scrotum (40%), and glans/ corona (32%). Genital warts were present in 4% of the men in the study (Figure). Heterosexual behavior was more strongly correlated with infection of the shaft and scrotum than homosexual behavior. A higher lifetime number of female sex partners (more than 15) was also strongly associated with HPV infection of the shaft and scrotum.

In uncircumcised men, the prevalence of infection of the glans/corona was 46% and the prevalence of infection of the foreskin was 44%, leading the researchers to conclude that circumcision may be somewhat protective against HPV infection. In addition to being at higher risk for HPV infection of the glans/corona (and being subject to infection of the foreskin), uncircumcised men were more likely to be infected with oncogenic HPV genotypes and with multiple genotypes.

References:

REFERENCES:

1.

Nyitray A, Nielson CM, Harris RB,et al. Prevalence of and risk factors foranal human papillomavirus infectionin heterosexual men.

J Infect Dis.

2008;197:1676-1684.

2.

Hernandez BY, Wilkens LR, Zhu X, et al. Circumcision and human papillomavirus infection in men: a site-specific comparison.

J Infect Dis.

2008;197:787-794.