One in ten men are orally infected with the human papillomavirus, the nasty microscopic villain that can cause cancer of the genitals or throat. Because it's tough to test for the virus without a tissue sample and most of the infected don't know they have it, many don't think they're at risk for HPV-caused throat cancers until it's too late. Cancer is such a jerk.
Scientists, terrified teenagers, and hypochondriacs have known for awhile that HPV acquired through oral sex can lead to cancer of the mouth or throat, but until now, they didn't know the extent to which this phenomenon disproportionately affected men. According to research published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 10% of men and 3.6% of women have HPV in their throats, and infection rates peak among people currently in their early 30's and early 60's. Likelihood that those infected with throatbound HPV will eventually get cancer depends on a number of factors— history of smoking, number of sexual partners, and age.
This is worrisome for researchers, as there's no current throat HPV screening procedure. It's also unknown whether or not the HPV vaccine will prevent throat and mouth infections in either men or women. So, we've got a disease that causes cancer that lots of people have, but we're not sure how to fix or prevent it. Awesome.
Guess this means that giving cunnilingus just got way more extreme and manly.
Oral sex cancer virus more common in men than women, study finds [Bloomberg]