HPV Infection in Men
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.
When genital warts appear, a variety of treatments can be used. The patient can apply prescription creams at home. Or a doctor can surgically remove or freeze off the warts.
Early treatment of warts is discouraged by some doctors because genital warts can go away on their own. It can also take time for all warts to appear. So a person who treats warts as soon as they appear may need another treatment later on.
Anal cancer can be treated with radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. The specific treatments depend on the stage of cancer -- how big the tumor is and how far the cancer has spread.
HPV Vaccine for Men?
The HPV vaccine Gardasil, approved for use in females in 2006, was approved for males in 2009. Gardisal is approved for boys and men ages 9 to 26 for the prevention of genital warts caused by two HPV strains: HPV 6 and HPV 11. Those are two of the four HPV strains that Gardasil targets. In late 2010, Gardasil was also approved for the prevention of anal cancer.
How to Manage HPV in a Relationship
If a man's long-term sexual partner has HPV, chances are good HPV transmission has already occurred and he also has it. HPV in men may clear from the body more easily than in women. Women, in general, often clear the virus in two years or less.
The HPV types associated with cervical cancer usually do not cause health problems for a heterosexual man having sex with an HPV-infected woman.
If a partner has HPV, it does not necessarily mean they have had sex with someone else recently. The virus can lay dormant in the body for years without causing noticeable symptoms.
How to Prevent Spreading HPV
Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent HPV transmission. Risk of transmission can be lowered if a person has sex only with one person who is not infected and who is also monogamous.
To lower the risk of HPV transmission, men can also limit the number of sex partners and pick partners who have had few or no partners in the past.
Condoms can provide some protection against HPV transmission. Unfortunately, they aren't 100% effective, since HPV is transmitted primarily by skin-to-skin contact. The virus can still infect the skin uncovered by the condom.
In a recent study of young women who had just become sexually active, those whose partners used a condom each time they had sex were 70% less likely to get an HPV infection than were women whose partners used a condom less than 5% of the time.