The HPV virus can cause cancers of the penis, anus and mouth/throat in men. These cancers are uncommon, and most men who get HPV never develop any symptoms.
What are the risk factors for male HPV-related cancers?
As with cervical cancer, the following factors may make it more likely for males to develop HPV-related cancers:
- Persistent infection with HPV.
- Smoking: this can increase the likelihood that HPV will persist in the body.
- Sexual partners: the more sexual partners a person has, the higher their risk of contracting different and more types of HPV. However HPV exposure can occur the first time a person is sexually active, and in people who have only had one partner.
- Weakened immune systems: People who are immunocompromised (for example, people with HIV or AIDS, organ transplant recipients, or people who are taking medication that suppresses the immune system) are at an increased risk of genital HPV infection.
- Men who have sex with men are at increased risk of HPV infection and HPV-related disease. The incidence of anal cancer in men who have sex with men is more than 30 times higher than other men.
Condoms offer some but not total protection from HPV, as they don't cover all of the genital skin. They do offer protection from many other sexually transmitted infections though, and help prevent unwanted pregnancy.