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Home HPV and Men HPV and Men Condom Use Associated with Lower HPV Risk Among Men

Condom Use Associated with Lower HPV Risk Among Men

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A new study finds consistent condom use greatly reduces a man’s risk of acquiring genital HPV.

Unlike STIs such as HIV that are transmitted through body fluids (e.g. sexual secretions and blood), HPV is transmitted through skin to skin contact. Since HPV can be found on anogenital skin not covered by condoms, the protective impact of condoms with the virus is trickier to understand.

Using samples taken from the penis and other anogenital sites, investigators led by Carrie Neilsen of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland tested 463 men between the ages of 18-40 for 37 types of HPV. The subjects also completed questionnaires on the number of partners and frequency of condom use for the previous three months.

Men who used condoms were much less likely to have HPV detected. 37.9% of those who said they always used condoms tested positive for the virus, as compared to 53.9% of those who never used condoms. The protective value of condoms against HPV was greater among men reporting multiple sexual partners.

A study done at the University of Washington in 2006 found consistent condom use reduces HPV acquisition among females by 70%. Less is known about HPV and the protective effect of safer sex with men, making this research especially insightful.

Carrie M. Nielson, Robin B. Harris, Alan G. Nyitray, Eileen F. Dunne, Katherine M. Stone, and Anna R. Giuliano. Consistent Condom Use Is Associated with Lower Prevalence of Human Papillomavirus Infection in Men. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2010. 202:445–451.

Rachel L. Winer, James P. Hughes, Qinghua Feng, Sandra O'Reilly, Nancy B. Kiviat, King K. Holmes, Laura A. Koutsky. Condom Use and the Risk of Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection in Young Women. New England Journal of Medicine, 2006. 354:2645-2654.