Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

HPV/Genital Warts Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

HPV Infection in Men

Much of the information about HPV virus (human papillomavirus) centers on women, since having the virus increases their risk of getting cervical cancer. But HPV virus in men can cause health problems, too. It's important for men to understand how to reduce the risks of HPV infection.

HPV infection can increase a man's risk of getting genital cancers, although these cancers are not common. HPV can also cause genital warts in men, just as in women.

Recommended Related to HPV/Genital Warts

Is There a Cure for HPV?

Infection with HPV (human papillomavirus) is very common. About 20 million people in the U.S. are affected. About 30 of the 100 HPV types are transmitted sexually. This HPV transmission can cause genital warts or abnormal cell changes in the cervix and other genital areas that can lead to cancer. While there is no cure for HPV, the good news is the infection often clears on its own. If it does not, and treatment is needed, there are many HPV treatment options. Plus, as more people are vaccinated...

Read the Is There a Cure for HPV? article > >

More than half of men who are sexually active in the U.S. will have HPV at some time in their life. Often, a man will clear the virus on his own, with no health problems.

Risks of HPV Infection in Men

Some of the 30 or so types of HPV associated with genital cancers can lead to cancer of the anus or penis in men. Both of these cancer types are rare, especially in men with a healthy immune system. The American Cancer Society estimates about 1,570 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer of the penis in 2012. About 2,250 men are estimated to have receive a diagnosis of anal cancer in 2012 as well.

The risk of anal cancer is about 17 times higher in sexually active gay and bisexual men than in men who have sex only with women. Men who have HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) are also at higher risk of getting this cancer.

Other types of HPV virus rarely cause cancer in men, but they do cause genital warts. At a given point in time, about 1% of sexually active men in the U.S. will have genital warts.

The Symptoms of HPV in Men

The types of high-risk HPV that can cause cancer rarely present any symptoms in men or in women. Genital warts are the first symptom you may see with low-risk HPV strains that cause warts but not cancer.

Tests for HPV Infection in Men

To diagnose genital warts in men, the doctor will visually check a man's genital area to see if warts are present. Some doctors will apply a vinegar solution to help identify warts that aren't raised and visible. But the test is not foolproof. Sometimes normal skin is mistakenly identified as a wart.

There is no routine test for men to check for high-risk HPV strains that can cause cancer. However, some doctors are urging anal Pap tests for gay and bisexual men, who are at higher risk of anal cancer caused by HPV. In an anal Pap test, the doctor collects cells from the anus, and then has them checked for abnormalities in a lab.

Treatments for HPV Infection in Men

There is no treatment for HPV infection in men when no symptoms are present. Instead, doctors treat the health problems that are caused by the HPV virus.

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Today on WebMD

HPV Vaccine Future
Article
STD Overview
Slideshow
 
STD Facts Quiz
Quiz
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool
 
Sex Drive Killers
Slideshow
Genital Herpes Risks Quiz
Quiz
 
Young couple holding hands
Quiz
Herpes Vaccine Study
Video
 
Condom Quiz
Quiz
HPV Symptoms Tests
Article
 
Get The STD Picture
Feature
cancer cell
Slideshow
 

WebMD Special Sections