With Valentine’s Day come and gone, can you think of a better time to talk about oral sex? The practice can be either one of the most fun activities you can do in bed with your significant other or a one night stand, or it can be painfully frustrating, depending on the skills and synchronicity of both participants. However, it might add up to more than that, as a recent study shows that oral sex raises HPV and cancer risk in men.
HPV and oral sex
According to a study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the human papilloma virus (HPV) affects 80% of sexually active women and 90% sexually active men. As one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, HPV can easily be spread through oral sexual relations.
During last week’s annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, a new study showed that men have double the risk of developing cancers related to HPV infections than women are. The highest at risk group consisted of middle aged white men.
The study was carried out at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and it revealed that two out of every three cases of HPV recorded in the United States can be linked to the HPV 16 strain, as well as that the risk of developing HPV increases with the number of oral sexual partners the males have.
Women don’t really seem to be affected by these, especially when talking about vaginal sex, as their body apparently mounts an immunity response in order to prevent them from developing the HPV infection. Sadly for men, they do not beneficiate from the same ability.
HPV and cancer
Another huge factor which contributes to the overall increased chance of developing and maintaining an HPV infection is the fact that men are less likely to clear the infection than women are. This contributes even further to the cancer risk.
Despite HPV infections going away in one or two years, and generally not causing cancer, some particular infections generate cellular changes in the throat and mouth that become cancerous if not treated. These can occur years after sexual contact with an infected person.
Also contributing to the overall risk of mouth and throat cancer are poor oral hygiene, chewing or smoking tobacco, as well as a temporarily weakened immune system. Generally you can avoid getting the horrible disease by having regular check-ups with your dentists and/or ear, nose, and mouth doctor.
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