Men and HPV

HPV infections are nowadays just as common in men as they are in women. The skin and mucous membranes of a man’s genital system however do not represent an environment that is anatomically welcoming for HPVs.  HPVs prefer moist, warm areas and metaplastic epithelia (which are offered by the uterine cervix in women). This perhaps explains the fact that cancer of the penis is much rarer than cervical cancer. In circumcised men, subclinical HPV-induced lesions and dysplasia (on the glans penis) are rarer compared to men who have not undergone circumcision (three times less frequent).

Infection by low-risk HPVs in men may lead to subclinical lesions or genital warts. It is believed that infection by high-risk HPVs rarely results in premalignant lesions of the penis and much more rarely in penile cancer.

It is worth noting that in recent years in studies conducted on passive homosexual men with AIDS it was found that they had an increased risk of developing cancer in the anal canal. It also seems that often there is a corresponding gradual development of premalignant lesions into cancer, as in the uterine cervix.