There are over 100 forms of Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a disease that comes in over 100 different forms, and about 30-40 of these are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Although the more serious consequences are for female health, with a risk of developing cervical cancer a possibility, there are also implications for male health as well. Men are particularly at risk of developing genital warts, if they contract the disease.
Human papillomavirus infection is caused by a DNA based virus that infects human mucous membranes. One possible route of transmission of the virus is through sexual activity. Although most of these forms cause no noticeable symptoms some of the sexually transmitted forms of HPV do cause genital warts of the anogenital region. These warts are also known as papillomas, hence the name of the disease. They are non-cancerous and also, the types of HPV virus that cause genital warts and not implicated in causing cervical cancer in women.
But obviously the presence of these genital warts can cause a variety of unpleasant side effects. Discomfort is likely but there may also be some psychosocial trauma. The warts are highly contagious and can be caught through oral, genital, and anal sex by skin-to-skin contact. Sometimes the warts disappear of their own accord but sometimes they form growths.
The treatment for the genital warts, caused by human papillomavirus, that is suggested by doctors, could involve the application of imiquimod topical immune response cream, for example. But there are a variety of other possibilities such as the anti-mitotic solution podophyllotoxin (podofilox), podophyllin, or Trichloroacetic acid (TCA). 5-fluoroacil (5-FU) cream has now been discontinued as a treatment. The genital warts may also be physically removed by using liquid nitrogen, or by using electric cauterisation or laser cauterisation, for example.
But as with any other disease prevention is always better than cure. Men wishing to avoid contracting HPV should avoid risky sexual behaviour such as casual sex with strangers or sex with prostitutes. They should also be aware of their partner’s sexual health, as well, to avoid contracting the disease. Condoms do not necessarily protect against the disease, as there may still be skin-to-skin contact. It is also worth remembering that the disease can be carried by people who don’t show the symptomatic warts. So simply observing that a partner has no genital warts does not guarantee that that partner is not carrying the disease.