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Study finds prevalence of HPV infection higher among men with 2 or more same-sex oral sex partners

The prevalence of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is 22.2% among men who reported having two or more same-sex oral sex partners, which is the highest overall prevalence of oral HPV infection among sexes/gender identities.

Uh-oh moment.

The prevalence of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is 22.2% among men who reported having two or more same-sex oral sex partners, which is the highest overall prevalence of oral HPV infection among sexes/gender identities. This is according to a study that appeared in the October 2017 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, titled “Oral Human Papillomavirus Infection: Differences in Prevalence Between Sexes and Concordance With Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection”.

Conducted by K. Sonawane, R. Suk, E.Y. Chiao, J. Chhatwal, P. Qiu, T. Wilkin, A.G. Nyitray, A.G. Sikora and A.A. Deshmukh, the study aimed to determine the prevalence of oral HPV infection, as well as the concordance of oral and genital HPV infection, particularly among US men and women. This is after the researchers noted that “the burden of HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is disproportionately high among men, yet empirical evidence regarding the difference in prevalence of oral HPV infection between men and women is limited. Concordance of oral and genital HPV infection among men is unknown.”

The researchers conducted a nationally representative survey involving men and women aged 18 to 69 years from NHANES (National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, 2011 to 2014).

The researchers found that overall prevalence of oral HPV infection was 11.5% in men and 3.2% in women (equating to 11 million men and 3.2 million women nationwide). High-risk oral HPV infection was more prevalent among men (7.3%) than women (1.4%). Oral HPV 16 was six times more common in men (1.8%) than women (0.3%).

Specific to the LGBT community, among men and women who reported having same-sex partners, the prevalence of high-risk HPV infection was 12.7% and 3.6%, respectively.

The researchers also noted higher (by up to four times) oral HPV prevalence among men with concurrent genital HPV infection (19.3%) than among those without it (4.4%).

Men also had 5.4% greater predicted probability of high-risk oral HPV infection than women. The predicted probability of high-risk oral HPV infection was also greatest among those who smoked more than 20 cigarettes daily, current marijuana users, and those who reported 16 or more lifetime vaginal or oral sex partners.

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The researchers now hope for the result of their study to “provide several policy implications to guide future OPSCC prevention efforts to combat this disease.”

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