HPV in Men
HPV is a wart-causing virus that invades the skin cells and alters the structure of the cell. HPV is spread through sexual and non-sexual touching.
The HPV strains that are spread non-sexually cause warts (often called tumors, lesions, or papillomas) to appear on the hands, arms, legs, and feet. Sometimes non-sexually transmitted HPV strains cause warts to grow on the face and neck. The most common non-sexually transmitted HPV strain is HPV-1. Non-sexually transmitted HPV infections are rarely cancerous and can easily be treated.
The HPV strains that are spread sexually can cause warts to appear on the genital and anal areas of women and men. In men this means the virus usually appears on thepenis, scrotum, and in and around the anal opening.
Visible genital HPV infections in men can cause warts that look like smooth
raised masses to appear on the penile shaft. Other warts, especially those
around the rectal area, can be narrow rough projections. Other warts can be
shaped like a cauliflower. These types can appear around a man’s genitalia or
in his mouth and throat.
Color of genital warts in men can be white and pearly or brown. Some warts might be difficult to see in uncircumcised men because because the foreskin hides the lesions. Pubic hair can also make it difficult to see the warts.
HPV Diagnostic Tests in Men
There are very few diagnostic tests available to determine genital HPV infections in men. The only diagnostic test is a thorough visual inspection. Sometimes a vinegar solution is applied to the infected area to make smaller, flatter warts easier to see. If the soaked area shows white spots, this means that it’s very likely that warts have grown in those spots.
There are no diagnostic tests to determine
non-visible HPV infections in straight men. (Non-visible HPV genital infections
in men are also referred to as subclinical HPV.) However, anal pap smears are
sometimes done on homosexual men who engage in anal sex. An anal pap smear
involves the doctor scraping some skin cells from the rectum. The cells are
then carefully examined under a microscope.
Since there are very few diagnostic tests for non-visible HPV infections in men, there are no good statistics about the number of men infected with genital HPV. On average, 60 percent of women become infected with HPV at some point in their lives. It’s assumed the same percentage applies to men.
HPV and Cancer in MenGenital HPV infections can sometimes turn into cancer. This is rare in comparison to the number of people infected with the virus. However, of the small percentage of genital HPV suffers who get cancer, women are more likely than men to be part of that percentage.
Even though women are more likely to get a cancer, especially cervical cancer, from HPV infections, men can also get cancer from genital HPV infections. The types of cancers men can get are anal cancer (more common in homosexual men who practice anal sex) and penile cancer.
Penile cancer occurs in about one man in
100,000 in the United States. About 50 percent of all penile cancers are caused
by a genital HPV infection. Most anal cancers in men are caused by genital HPV
This page was last updated:
June 19, 2006It is not the intention of Cervicalcancer.org to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and Cervicalcancer.org urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions.