Researchers note higher prevalence of oral HPV in men

There are plenty of precautions women can take in order to stave off the human papillomavirus (HPV), such as using condoms or getting the vaccine. However, a new study suggests men have a higher prevalence of the oral strain of the disease, suggesting that there may need to be more attention paid to ways that they can prevent the disease.

A study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium showed the prevalence of the disease makes up for 7 percent of men and women aged 14 to 69 in the U.S. The researchers used a statistically representative sample of 5,579 individuals. The study's authors provided the participants with mouthwash in order to conduct a 30-second oral rinse and gargle. Results indicated that men were more affected by the disease than women, with a 10.1 percent prevalence in comparison to 3.6 percent. 

The study's authors also noted the prevalence of the disease was higher in individuals who smoke, drink excessive amounts of alcohol and used marijuana on a regular basis either in the past or present day. The researchers suggested that these new findings will play an important role when it comes to application of sexual health information.

"Our results have important research as well as public health implications. Natural history studies of cervical HPV infection were essential for the development of public health interventions, such as HPV vaccination to prevent and HPV detection to screen for cervical cancer," the authors wrote. "Natural history studies of oral HPV infection are therefore necessary to understand the effects of age, sex and modifiable risk factors (e.g., smoking and sexual behavior) on the incidence and duration of oral HPV infection."

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