Oral HPV


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Study tells that the Risk of contracting oral HPV is greater in men


According to a study conducted in the US by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 7 per cent of dominantly American men are infected with oral Human Papilloma virus infections (HPV). HPV infections are considered very easy to spread and are very common especially among sexually active men and women.


This particular study was the first ever in the US to determine the pervasiveness of oral HPV. This research found out that men are three times more susceptible to oral HPV than women. In its findings, only 3.6 per cent of women were infected as compared to the 10 per cent of men who were also infected. The said research also gave light on the reason for the continued increase of head and neck cancer incidence in men as the smoking rate has been decreased.


The 5,579 respondents of this study were composed of men and women from ages 14 to 69, all of which have also been part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2009 and 2010. The respondents were made to fill out a set of questions that probed about their sexual history and were extracted with oral cell samples for HPV analysis.


The study highlighted that the risk of contracting HPV is directly proportional to the number of sexual relations that a person had. People who were sexually active are 8 times were more likely to develop HPV compared to those who are not. People who’ve been with more than 20 sexual partners are 20 per cent more likely to develop HPV.  Oral HPV has also been emphasized as primarily sexually transmitted, not spread through mere kissing, but contracted through oral sex.


Also according to the study, the prevalence of oral HPV is more common among two age groups. 30-34 year old people have 7.3 per cent possibility of contracting HPV while those who are 60 to 64 year old folks are at a higher risk amounting to 11.4 per cent chance of getting oral HPV.


A high-risk oral HPV infection puts the infected individual at risk of several oropharyngeal cancers on locations such as the upper throat, base of the tongue and the tonsils. The study also mentioned that the risk of contracting HPV-related oral cancers is greatest in men, as demonstrated by the increasing prevalence of their engagement in oral sex.


Though the rate of oral HPV infections is still relatively lower than genital HPV infections, the numbers have increased alarmingly over time. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the number of cases of HPV-related cancers has increased to 225 per cent since 1984 up to 2004. In 1984 to 1989, only 16 per cent of oral cancers were attributed to HPV. By 2000 to 2004, HPV infections amounted to 72 per cent of the culprits of oral cancers, leading against smoking.


Though there were HPV-preventive vaccines recommended by the Journal of the American Medical Association (Cervarix for girls against cervical cancer and Gardasil for girls against genital warts and cervical cancer and also for boys against warts and anal cancer), the certain vaccines will only serve their proper purpose if given before these girls and boys are much younger and are not yet sexually active. On the other hand, the said vaccines were not ascertained to protect against oral cancers.


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