When it comes to the HPV vaccine, most people think of women, believing it is a vaccine designed for women and mainly used to prevent the development of cervical cancer, but is it necessary for men to be vaccinated as well? Here’s a conversation with Dr. Mo Zhiqiang, deputy chief of urology and male medicine at Beijing Children’s Hospital Shunyi Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Mo Zhiqiang points out that many people think that HPV infection is only a problem for women, but in fact it is also the most common sexually transmitted infection in men, and men and women can cross-infect each other.
HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18 subtypes are the most common HPV infections in humans, of which HPV 6 and 11 are the pathogens of genital warts in the vast majority of men, and anal genital warts are also the most common clinical manifestation. HPV 16 and 18 can also cause penile and anal cancers. However, it is worth noting that most HPV infections in men are asymptomatic or self-resolving. Therefore it is also ignored by most people and the focus is on screening for HPV infection in women. In fact, not only HPV infection, but also recurrent gynecological inflammation should check the male partner for inflammatory problems in the genitourinary tract.
HPV infection may also have an impact on fertility, although there is no consensus on how much this impact is. Some studies have shown that HPV can affect sperm concentration and morphology, leading to a decrease in quality, and that the level of HPV-DNA in semen of infertile people is three to four times higher than that of normal fertile controls. The spontaneous pregnancy rate and healthy live birth rate of spouses of HPV-infected individuals who were vaccinated with HPV vaccine gained improvement and the miscarriage rate decreased.
Therefore, HPV screening for men is necessary, and the test is simple: a small amount of discharge from the urethra can be obtained through a cotton swab.
Of course there are many women who have asked the question, does their husband need to be vaccinated for HPV? In the past, there were more studies abroad, and in recent years, there has been an increase in domestic studies. Suffice it to say that men should also be encouraged to get the vaccine. The male population can be the target of HPV vaccine protection, especially in the group of male partners who are HPV-positive for women, men who have sex with men, and men with mental health needs should be widely used.