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Home HPV and Men HPV and Men Study: Half of Men Have HPV

Study: Half of Men Have HPV

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HPV was detected in half the men participating in a large international study, according to a paper published online in The Lancet.

Over 1,100 men between the ages of 18-70 from Brazil, Mexico, and the U.S. took part in the Human papillomavirus in Men (HIM) study. Penile samples were taken every six months and tested for HPV DNA. Subjects were followed for an average of 27.5 months. The study examined HPV incidence and clearance.

Principal investigatorHPVmen Anna Giuliano, PhD, and colleagues found 50% of subjects acquired some type of HPV during the study (age didn’t affect incidence). The presence of oncogenic or “high risk” HPV types (found in 30% of subjects) was linked with behaviors such as having a high number of lifetime sex partners (50 or more) and having three or more male anal sex partners.

With the HPV types covered by the Merck and GlaxoSmithKline vaccines, prevalence was 6% with HPV-16 and 2% with HPV-18, respectively. As for the two “low risk” types that cause approximately 90% of genital warts, 7% of subjects had HPV-6 while 1% had HPV-11 detected (Merck’s vaccine also protects against these HPV types).

Both oncogenic and non-oncogenic HPV infections cleared on average in about 7.5 months but HPV-16, the type most prominent in cervical and some other cancers, tended to last just over 12 months. Men with a higher number of female sex partners took longer to clear both "high risk" and "low risk" HPV. Regarding “high risk” types, clearance occurred more quickly in older men than their younger counterparts (the authors speculate this may be due to higher antibody levels in older subjects).

The authors say understanding natural history data like these will better inform estimates of cost-efficacy of including males in HPV vaccine programs.

Anna R Giuliano, Ji-Hyun Lee, William Fulp, Luisa L Villa, Eduardo Lazcano, Mary R Papenfuss, Martha Abrahamsen, Jorge Salmeron, Gabriella M Anic, Dana E Rollison, Danelle Smith. Incidence and clearance of genital human papillomavirus infection in men (HIM): a cohort study. The Lancet, 2011. Published online March 1, 2011.