Even though majority of HPV information is concentrated on women, the virus can affect men as well. Increasing the risk of genital cancers, even though not too common, the virus can cause genital warts. For sexually active men, there is a possibility of being infected by HPV at least once in their lifetime. There are times when a person can get the virus, no show any health issues, and clear the infection on their own. As there are over 100 types of HPV, the ones that cause warts are usually different from the ones that cause development of cancer.
Symptoms of the Virus
There could be a number of symptoms of HPV infection, according to the type of virus that has caused it. Some of the common symptoms in men are:
These are caused by HPV types 6 and 11. These types are not the cancer causing HPVs. They could have different appearances including a blackish patch, or a tiny straight growth.
Oral and Respiratory HPV Infection
These cause warts on the tongue, throat tissue and even the nose. They could be caused by both, the harmless 6 and 11 types of HPV or the more dangerous 16 and 18 HPV types.
These are warts on hands and fingers. They are often seen in children infected with HPV and are not too common in adults.
These warts occur on the soles or toe areas, as hard patches, and cause pain and discomfort. Plantar warts on feet are caused by HPV types 1, 2 ,4 or 63.
Transmission of the Virus
A sexually active male can get HPV by having intercourse (anal, vaginal, or oral) with an individual who is already infected with the virus. Even if the infected individual is not showing any signs or symptoms, the virus can easily spread.
If there are no obvious/visible symptoms of the infection, there is no treatment offered for men. On the other hand, a healthcare provider will treat health issues that can caused due to the virus.
For genital warts, an individual can apply prescription cream or the doctor can opt for a surgical removal of the warts. As there is no medical cure for HPV, a vaccine for men is available in the market to prevent infection especially by genital warts. This vaccine is known as Gardasil. The first symptoms like warts may appear even months after infection but usually get removed by the immune system.
Also, many doctors are recommending individuals to get anal Pap tests done if they have a high risk of anal cancer caused by the virus. Cells from the anus are collected and checked for abnormalities in the lab.
Duration of Virus in the Body
There is no specific time frame for how long the virus will stay in the body. But if an individual is showing symptoms of the virus, the duration may vary depending on the type of infection. The symptoms for genital, plantar, common, and oral warts usually go away after a while, but they could get worse. Do see a doctor; do not wait for it go away on its own. Cover the warts up, except for genital warts; this prevents oxygen from getting to the wart which eventually causes it to die.
HPV is a very common infection and can be prevented by maintaining good hygiene and using protection during sexual intercourse. These may not be hundred percent effective in eliminating risk of infection and it's best to get vaccinated, to prevent any chances of infection.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.