Recently, a new study conducted by researchers from the Rutgers School of Public Heath’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) has examined sexual behavior in straight, gay, and bisexual and came to the conclusion that a significant number of men are not aware of the risks associated with HPV.
HPV, also known as Human papillomavirus, is one of the most common viral infections that can spread through regular skin to skin contact. Research has identified many varieties of the virus, of which many cause STIs or sexually transmitted infections.
The number of HPV viruses that can potentially be transmitted via sexual contact is around forty. These viruses can cause a number of complications and particularly affect the mouth, genitals, and the throat.
According to the statistics from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, infections caused by HPV viruses are the most prevalent form of STIs. Hence, it may also infect people with fewer sexual partners.
HPV infections can occur in many forms. Some people who experience genital HPV infections may not have a lot of complications. However, the virus can also lead to the formation of warts and even cancerous tumors in the throat, anus, or the cervix.
In the majority of the people, the early stages of HPV infections cause little to no symptoms. Consequently, people with infections are typically unaware of having it.
This is why the virus spreads easily among people and many can even have many types of HPV infections at the same time.
Another reason why HPV infection is so common is that it can easily spread with minimal contact. Unlike other STDs and STIs, the spread of the HPV virus does not require sexual intercourse.
In addition, in some cases, the STI infections can also be passed on to a baby from the mother during delivery. The virus, in such a situation, can cause a health condition known as recurrent respiratory papillomatosis in which the baby develops HPV warts inside the airways or the throat.
THE CDC reports that HPV viruses can stay in the body even if an infection goes away. Usually, many HPV infections go away within two years on their own. In cases where it does not go away, the affected person is likely to experience complications.
Therefore, it is important to know about the symptoms, associated risks, and prevention of HPV viruses and infections. However, the new study, whose findings appear in the Journal of Community Health, shows that young men have little to no known of the disease.
The researchers looked at sexual minority men who were in their early twenties and found that not only were they unaware of HPV transmission and complications but did not get vaccinations.
Secondly, a number of men also thought HPV infections only affected women and were not as common in men. This was largely due to the fact that healthcare providers did not discuss HPV complications or vaccinations with the observed men.
The leading investigator of the study Perry N. Halkitis, concludes the study in the words “Everyone who is sexually active—regardless of gender, sexual orientation, partners’ genders, relationship or marital status—should talk to their doctor about receiving the HPV vaccine to prevent a future generation who may develop HPV-related cancers, such as cervical, oral and anal cancer, as we have seen emerging in Baby Boomers and Gen-Xer s,”