HPV IN MEN
For men the 2 main factors influencing the risk of genital HPV infection are:
- The number of sexual partners.
Men who are circumcised have a lower chance of becoming infected with HPV. Men who have not been circumcised are more likely to be infected with HPV and pass it on to their partners. The reasons are unclear, researchers theory is that the surface of the foreskin (which is removed by circumcision) is easily infected by HPV. Although, Circumcision does not completely protect against HPV infections, men who are circumcised can still be infected and pass it to their partners.
Many sexually active women become infected with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), but very few will ever develop Cervical Cancer. In some cases, the body immune system fights of the virus, and the infection goes away without any treatment. In most cases, the infection persists in some women and can cause cervical cancer. Researches believe that other factors must come into play for Cervical Cancer to develop. Some of the factors are:
- Smoking: Tobacco by-products have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke. Researchers believe that these substances damage the DNA of cervix cells and may contribute to the development of Cervical Cancer.
- Chlamydia infection: Chlamydia is a relatively common kind of bacteria that can infect the reproductive system. It is spread by sexual contacts. Some studies have seen a higher risk of Cervical Cancer in women whose blood test results show past or current Chlamydia infection.
- Immuno suppression: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDs, damages the body’s immune system and make women more at risk for HPV infection. Scientists believe that the immune system is important in destroying cancer cells, slowing their growth and spread. In women with HIV, a cervical pre-cancer might develop into an invasive cancer faster than it normally would.
- Diet: Women with diets low in fruits and vegetables may be at increased risk for cervical cancer. Also overweight women are more likely to develop cancer of the cervix.
- Oral contraceptives (birth control pills): There is evidence that taking oral contraceptives for a long time (a period of 5 – 10 years), increases the risk of cancer of the cervix.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): A woman with multiple sexual partners should use condom to lower the risk of sexually transmitted diseases i.e. HIV damages the immune system and make women more at risk for HPV infections.
- Low socio-economic status/Lack of awareness: Poverty is also a risk factor for Cervical Cancer. Many women with low incomes do not have ready access to adequate health care services. Ignorance remains the underlying risk factor for most women.
- Multiple pregnancies: Women who have had full term pregnancies have an increased risk of developing Cervical Cancer. Studies have pointed to hormonal changes during pregnancy is possibly making women more susceptible to HPV infection. Another research shows that the immune system of pregnant women might be weaker, allowing HPV infection and cancer growth.
- Family history of cervical cancer: Cervical Cancer may run in some families. If a person’s mother or sister had cervical cancer, the chances of developing the disease are increased by 2 to 3 times. Some researchers suspect that some instances of this familial tendency are caused by an inherited condition that makes some women less able to fight off HPV infection than others.