Human Papillomavirus: Oral Infection More Common in Men
Men are more likely to become infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) through oral transmission than are women, new research shows. According to HealthDay News, men between the ages of 14 and 69 are about three times more at risk for oral HPV infection than their female peers.
Men are also at a disadvantage when it comes to developing oral cancer from HPV. They are about five times more likely to develop HPV-16, the strain most responsible for cancer, the study from Ohio State University shows. That’s because men are more likely to engage in behaviors that lead to oral transmission.
“Our data link oral HPV infection to the number of sex partners and to smoking,” explained study author Maura Gillison. “This suggests that people might reduce their risk of infection by limiting the number of sex partners and not smoking cigarettes.”
Cigarettes are believed to raise the risk of transmission either because of tobacco’s effects on the immune system or by damaging the mucosal lining of the mouth, HealthDay said.
Gillson added that it remains unknown whether condom use reduces oral HPV transmission.
For the study, Gillson and her colleagues examined data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2009 and 2011. The survey examined nearly 5,600 men and women in person, all of whom were tested for HPV. They found an overall oral HPV infection rate of 6.9 percent, with men averaging out at 10 percent and women hitting just below four percent.