Hat tip to Tobias.
The Internal Medicine News covers a study showing that oral HPV is three times more prevalent among men than women. Oral HPV has been linked to something called “oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma,” which is apparently cancer of the middle part of the throat (the tonsils, soft palate, and the base of the tongue, and certainly does not sound like something you want to have in your mouth.
All too often, HPV infection is presented as only being a concern because of cervical cancer, and that people who do not have cervixes do not need to worry about it. Gardasil and other HPV vaccines, for instance, are usually only given to female-assigned-at-birth people. This is silly on the face of it, because most people with cervixes are straight cis women who are going to be fucking cis men, so we might as well go about vaccinating the male-assigned people as well; after all, if the virus was never transmitted to you, then you can hardly transmit it to other people. That’s like trying to prevent smallpox by only vaccinating half the population!
However, the health risks of HPV for men go far beyond the risk of transmitting it to a partner. It has been estimated that by 2020 more oropharyngeal cancers than cervical cancers will be caused by HPV– and most people who get oropharyngeal cancer from HPV will be men. Not to mention penile and anal cancers, which although rarer than other forms of cancer caused by HPV, still affect men and male-assigned people to a huge degree. The strains of HPV that are most likely to cause these cancers, HPV 16 and 18, are exactly those vaccinated for by Gardasil. They don’t even need to develop a new vaccine! The fact that more men aren’t getting vaccinated is an outrage.
Even if you weren’t born with a cervix, talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting the HPV vaccine.