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Home HPV and Men HPV and Men HPV Persists Longer in Uncircumcised Men

HPV Persists Longer in Uncircumcised Men

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HPV infections take longer to clear in uncircumcised men, which researchers say may explain why they (and their partners) have higher rates of cancers associated with HPV.

The American Cancer Society estimates there are about 1,300 new cases of penile cancer in the U.S. each year. The disease is rare in most industrialized nations, and at least half of all cases are associated with high-risk types of HPV.

Investigators with the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii tested 357 men for HPV at two-month intervals: Samples were taken from the glans penis (head of the penis), the penile shaft, and scrotum. Subjects were followed for an average of 61 weeks. The researchers found that circumcision status had no impact on HPV acquisition, nor did it affect the length of time it took to clear HPV from the shaft and scrotum. However, uncircumcised men on average needed 154 says to clear HPV from the glans, compared to 91 days in their circumcised counterparts. The authors say this is important because uncircumcised men have higher rates of penile cancer, and the glans is the area where the disease is primarily found.

They also note that the lower HPV clearance rates may explain why cervical cancer is more often detected in partners of uncircumcised men.

Brenda Y. Hernandez, Yurii B. Shvetsov, Marc T. Goodman,Lynne R. Wilkens, Pamela Thompson, Xuemei Zhu, and Lily Ning. Reduced Clearance of Penile Human Papillomavirus Infection in Uncircumcised Men. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2010. 201:1340-1343.