‘Gay’ and Bisexual Men at 17 Times Higher Risk than Straights for Anal Cancer: CDC

Excerpted from “HPV and Men – CDC Fact Sheet”:

  • Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus. There are more than 30 types of genital HPV that can infect the genital area of men, including the skin on and around the penis or anus.
  • Most men who get genital HPV do not have any symptoms. However, some types of HPV can cause genital warts. Genital warts are single or multiple growths that appear in the genital area. They may be raised, flat, or cauliflower shaped.In men, genital warts may appear around the anus or on the penis, scrotum (testicles), groin or thighs. Even men who have never had anal sex can get warts around the anus. Warts may appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected person, or not at all. A person can have the type of HPV that causes genital warts, but never develop any warts.
  • Genital HPV is passed on through genital contact – such as vaginal and anal sex.
  • Certain types of HPV have been linked to cancer of the anus and penis in men. These cancers are rare – especially in men with healthy immune systems. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types that can cause penile or anal cancer.
  • The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that about 1,530 men will be diagnosed with penile cancer in the U.S. in 2006. In this country, penile cancer accounts for about 0.2% of all cancers in men. It is especially rare in circumcised men.
  • ACS estimates that about 1,910 men will be diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006. The risk for anal cancer is 17 times higher among gay and bisexual men than among heterosexual men. The risk is also higher among men with compromised immune systems, including those with HIV.
  • HIV-positive men are more likely to get severe and prolonged cases of genital warts, which may be more resistant to treatment. They are also more likely to develop anal cancer.
  • Because HPV is so common but usually invisible, the only sure ways to prevent it are not to have sex, or to have sex with only one uninfected person, who is only having sex with you. You can lower your risk by limiting your number of sex partners and choosing partners who have had few or no sex partners.
  • Condoms may provide some but not complete protection against HPV, since HPV can infect skin that is not covered by a condom.
This article was posted on Saturday, December 16th, 2006 at 5:35 pm and is filed under News, Physical Health. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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