HPV Virus in Men

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Quick GuideSexually Transmitted Diseases: HPV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes, HIV

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: HPV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes, HIV

HPV Vaccine for Men?

The HPV vaccine Gardasil, approved for use in women in 2006, is not yet approved for men.

Studies are still being done to determine if the vaccine works in males. Eventually, public health experts say, boys and men may be vaccinated.

How to Manage HPV in a Relationship

If a man's long-term sexual partner has HPV, chances are good HPV transmission has already occurred and he also has it. HPV in men may clear from the body more easily than in women. Women, in general, often clear the virus in two years or less.

The HPV types associated with cervical cancer usually do not cause health problems for a heterosexual man having sex with an HPV-infected woman.

If a partner has HPV, it does not necessarily mean they have had sex with someone else recently. The virus can lay dormant in the body for years without causing noticeable symptoms.

How to Prevent Transmission of HPV

Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent HPV transmission. Risk of transmission can be lowered if a person has sex only with one person who is not infected and who is monogamous.

To lower the risk of HPV transmission, men can also limit the number of sex partners and pick partners who have had few or no partners in the past.

Condoms can provide some protection against HPV transmission. But they aren't 100% effective, since HPV is transmitted primarily by skin-to-skin contact. The virus can still infect the skin uncovered by the condom.

In a recent study of young women who had just become sexually active, those whose partners used a condom each time they had sex were 70% less likely to get an HPV infection than were women whose partners used a condom less than 5% of the time.

WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: Joel Palefsky, MD, professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco. CDC: "HPV and Men," and "HPV Vaccine: Questions and Answers." American Social Health Association: "HPV: Genital Warts: Questions & Answers," and ""What Men Should Know." Diane Harper, MD, MPH, professor of community and family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, N.H. Joan Walker, MD, gynecologic oncologist, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City. Winer R. New England Journal of Medicine, June 22, 2006: vol 354: pp 2645-2654.

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on April 24, 2007

© 2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.

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