Can men get HPV?

Most people will contract a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection at some time during their lives, and this includes men.

There are over 100 different strains of HPV. They do not in themselves cause cancer; however, they do cause the abnormal growth of cells. This can result in women developing cervical cancer; men and women developing general skin warts and genital warts, and in men, certain types of cancer developing including anile and penile, although instances of either are relatively rare.

HPV is transmitted through direct skin to skin contact. This includes both social contact (shaking hands and a kiss on the cheek) to intimate sexual contact, including anal and oral sex.

HPV infection in men

In men, the most common outcome of an HPV infection is warts; general skin warts and/or genital warts. Depending on the types of warts they can appear in various part of the body and take on various shapes, colours and textures. As the name suggests, genital warts manifest themselves around the genital area, and also around the anus.

The risk of HPV related cancers in men

Important facts about HPV are that the strains of HPV that produce skin or genital warts do not also produce cancer, and despite the fact that HPV is one of the most common STIs, it seldom results in cancer amongst men.

Men who have weak immune systems (including men who have HIV) and who become infected with HPV are more prone to developing HPV-related health problems, this includes men who indulge in anal sex. Here in the UK approximately 1,100 men are diagnosed with anal cancer every year. Those most at risk (and this relates to women too) are those who receive “receptive” anal sex.

As regards penile cancer in men – approximately 500 men per year receive a positive diagnosis.

HPV related anal cancer screening for men – available from Broadgate Clinic London Wall

As cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer are high risk events for women with HPV, here in the UK there is an effective national HPV screening program in place for women. (There is also an effective national vaccination program in place for women).

However there is no effective or reliable test in place for HPV in men, but some healthcare providers (Broadgate Clinic London Wall is one) do provide specialist anal Pap-type HPV tests for men at high risk of contracting anal cancer. However, men can also have the HPV vaccination

If you are a man who lives and/or works in London and you are concerned about the risk of anile HPV related cancer you can make use of the private well-man health services we provide here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall.

You can have a specialized male Pap test or have the HPV vaccination administered at our walk-in clinic without having to make a prior appointment. Our clinic is open 08:00 to 18:30 Monday to Thursday, and 08:00 to 17:30 on Fridays.