About half of men had existing human papillomavirus (HPV) infections at enrollment in a study, reported researchers. The team also found that the rate at which men acquire new HPV infections is very similar to women, with about 6% of men per year acquiring a new HPV 16 infection. Women seem to clear the infections as they age, while men do not.
To estimate incidence and clearance of genital HPV infection in men, researchers looked at men ages 18 to 70 years in from the general population, universities, and organized health-care systems of Brazil, Mexico, and the U.S. who were HIV negative with no history of cancer. Researchers published their results in Lancet.
The patients were assessed every 6 months for a median of 27.5 months by taking specimens from the coronal sulcus, glans penis, shaft and scrotum in 1,159 men.
Not surprisingly, a high number of lifetime female sexual partners led to more risk (hazard ratio, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.38 to 4.18, for at least 50 partners vs. not more than one partner), as did male anal-sexual partners (2.57; 95% CI, 1.46 to 4.49, for at least three male partners vs. no recent partners).
Median duration of HPV infection was 7.52 months for any HPV and 12.19 months for HPV 16. Clearance of HPV decreased in men with a high number of lifetime female partners (0.49, 95% CI. 0.31 to 0.76, for at least 50 female partners vs. not more than one partner).
The study highlights the need to vaccinate men, to protect them and their eventual sexual partners, explained one British expert in preventive health.
The same research team published research in early February that the HPV vaccine prevents genital warts in boys just as it does in girls.