Study Shows That Half of Men May Have HPV

In a new finding that highlights, once again, the need to vaccinate boys as well as girls against the human papilloma virus (HPV), researchers found that half of the men in the general population may be infected.  HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer, but it is also connected increasingly to throat cancer, as well as anal, penile and head cancers.

The rate at which men acquire HPV is very similar to women, which adds momentum to the push for boys to be vaccinated, despite the fact that some have said that the vaccine would not be worth the expense.  Women are also able to better clear a HPV vaccine, but men don’t appear to have the same ability.

“This study highlights the high incidence of HPV infection in men, which emphasizes their role in transmission of HPV to women,” said Dr. Anne Szarewski of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in London in a statement.  “It must surely strengthen the argument for vaccination of men, both for their own protection, and that of their partners.”

Doctors and researchers are now beginning to argue that the cost of vaccinating boys may pay off later, both in protecting them from certain cancers but also making sure that they don’t spread the virus to their sexual partners.  The fact that HPV is often asymptomatic means that men can spread the virus without knowing that they have it.

However, this may mean that insurers will have to be forced to change their policies, because while the HPV vaccine was marked as a preventive measure for girls under the new health care reforms, it did not get the same stamp of approval for boys.  This was because it was cited as a preventive measure for genital warts, which was seen as a less pressing issue.

Certainly, the cost of the three-shot vaccine, which is about $130 per shot, is a consideration, and medical authorities should be careful before recommending that all boys should be vaccinated.  But at the same time, it seems as though the threat of the spread of the virus and the various cancers that it causes might make the vaccine more cost-effective than many had previously assumed.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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Lynn Carin

Broken system!

Jane R.
Jane R.4 years ago

If girls get the vaccine then a guy cannot give them the virus, so why vaccinate guys? From my research on HPV, it doesn't cause any problems for a man. Confirmed by my OBGYN. It's girls that have to worry.

Marcia Perkel
Marcia Perkel4 years ago

who do we trust??

Linda H.
Linda h.4 years ago

Byron, nothing is fool proof however I can provide you with a list of diseases I did not get because I was vaccinated. Small pox is one polio is another. I could go on. We don't even give small pox any more because no one catches and spreads it any more. I used to go to school with a girl who was crippled with polio. No one gets it any more. I trust the vaccine. It's a start.

Julie W.
Julie W.4 years ago

My friend's daughter was very ill after having this vaccine. She only found out later that others had bad reactions as well.

Deb Lewis
debbie Lewis4 years ago


Bryon S.
Bryon S.4 years ago

It's frightening how Care2 is promoting vaccines such as Gardasil even though there still is no proof that the vaccine prevents cancer. I was just reading about this earlier today where there has been 20,915 reported cases of Gardasil-related adverse reactions in the US including 89 deaths and 297 stillbirths or miscarriages. In fact evidence suggests that the vaccine increases your risk of precancerous lesions by 45%. If you are considering taking your child to get injected with this dangerous chemical, please please please do some research first. How guilty would you feel if you did your child harm when you meant to help them?
@ Linda H. You are putting your trust in the wrong multibilloinaire corporation...Merck. You really think this potentially lethal vaccination would have prevented your cancer? I am a health care provider who is constantly treating patients for side effects from vaccines. All the vaccinations you have had are no guarantee that you will not get those diseases...and when you start getting side effects, just remember what I said.

Jessica C.
Jessica C.4 years ago

I wish this would have been available when I was a kid, then maybe I would not have to live with the threat of cancer hanging over my head, as I contracted HPV after being raped as a young teen. It just would have been nice to be able to get the shot.

julieanne bowes
julieanne bowes4 years ago

not for me thanks.

Linda H.
Linda h.4 years ago

I am sending this again. You don't trust who? I don't trust the people crowding these boards with misinformation and bad advice coming from who knows where or why.
"As a cancer survivor I have to say to those who are against this, you wouldn't say this if you went down to watch the radiation treatments. Throat procedures are harsh to say the least. I am glad to still be alive but the vaccine might have saved me from all the treatments and I wish to God I had had the opportunity to get the shot when I was young. I am now 62. the last I heard the right wing tea baggers didn't want this shot for their girls because it had to do with sexuality. I have to wonder about those who would rather their children died of cancer instead. And I have to wonder how many sock puppets are here on this comment board shilling for the teabagger anti-sex squads."
As for condoms, they are good for single people but if 50% of men now have this virus are you going to go ask your husband to get a test every time you have sex. lol And you can't get pregnant using a condom if you are trying to have a child. Wouldn't it be better to halt the disease before you end up like me? I just got the pneumonia vaccine and the flu vaccine and I'm getting a shingles shot next month. You don't want that either.
BTW, everyone of my husbands had sex outside of our marriage whether I knew about it or not. It's not that out of the ordinary.