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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Jun;16(6):1107-14.

Human papillomavirus prevalence and type distribution in male anogenital sites and semen.

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  • 1Arizona Cancer Center and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Tucson, Arizona, USA.



Human papillomavirus (HPV) is sexually transmitted and causes cervical cancer. Although HPV can infect men and women, little is known about infection in men. Specifically, the prevalence of type-specific HPV infection and the distribution of infections by anogenital anatomic site in men are incompletely characterized.


We tested 463 men ages 18 to 40 years for HPV at the glans/corona, penile shaft, scrotum, urethra, perianal area, anal canal, and in a semen sample. Eligible men acknowledged no history of genital warts and had sexual intercourse with a woman within the past year. HPV testing by PCR and reverse line blot genotyping for 37 types was conducted on each of the specimens from the seven sampling sites.


When HPV results from any sampling site were considered, 237 (51.2%) men were positive for at least one oncogenic or nononcogenic HPV type, and another 66 (14.3%) men were positive for an unclassified HPV type. The types with the highest prevalence were HPV-16 (11.4%) and 84 (10.6%). External genital samples (glans/corona, shaft, and scrotum) were more likely than anal samples to contain oncogenic HPV (25.1% versus 5.0%). HPV-positive penile shaft and glans/corona samples were also more likely to be infected with multiple HPV types than other sites.


More complete anogenital sampling and sensitive detection for 37 HPV types resulted in a higher HPV prevalence in primarily asymptomatic men than reported previously. The penile shaft was the site most likely to be HPV positive and harbored the greatest proportion of multiple type and oncogenic infections. These results have implications for research of HPV among men and transmission between partners.

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