Did you know that men and women are at equal risk of contracting HPV? Though it is more commonly heard of for women to get the HPV vaccination, it is just as important for men!
Dr Timotheus Ooi, Healthway Medical (Sunshine Place), explains what HPV is, and the importance of the vaccination not just for women, but for men as well.
What is HPV?
HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus, and it is the most common viral infection among sexually active adults. It is spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex and even close skin-to-skin contact during intercourse. Nearly all non-vaccinated individuals, male or female, will be infected by HPV at some point during their adult life. It is the cause of more than 99% of cervical cancer cases in females. Cervical cancer is the tenth most common cancer among Singaporean women.
How Does It Affect Men?
The majority of HPV infections are asymptomatic. In a minority of cases, the HPV infection is not cleared by the body and may result in the growth of genital warts. Genital warts appear as small flesh-coloured, cauliflower-like bumps on the skin. HPV may also cause penile, anal and even oral cancer in some men months or years after the infection. Notably, 85-91% of anal cancer is cause by HPV, and more than 90% of genital warts are caused by HPV.  Though it can affect all men, men who have a weakened immune system from other illnesses or treatments, are at increased risk.
Different Photos of anal, penile and scrotal warts
How Does Vaccination Help?
There currently is no widely available screening for HPV infections in men. As HPV is a very contagious virus, the best way to prevent it is by vaccination. The earlier an individual gets vaccinated, the lower the risk of contracting the virus during intercourse.
The Gardasil 9 HPV vaccine is indicated for both males and females from 9 to 26 years of age. Older men may also benefit from vaccination, however there is a higher probability that they have already contracted the virus, rendering the vaccine redundant.
How Do I Get Vaccinated?
The Gardasil 9 HPV vaccine is given in three doses at 0, 2, 6 months. This means that the second dose is given 2 months after the first dose and the third dose is given 6 months from the first dose.
It is an intramuscular vaccine that can be administered into the shoulder or buttock region. Side effects include pain and swelling at the injection site, mild headache (13% of patients) and fever (6.1% of patients). Healthway Medical clinics offer a 3-dose package at $650 nett.
Dr Timotheus Ooi
Healthway Medical (Sunshine Place)
Blk 475 Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3 #02-03
Sunshine Place (near South View LRT station)
 https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-and-men.htm, accessed 2020
 National Registry of Disease Office – Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Registry Report 2015
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 Source:https://thevoiceofthequeer.com/en/condyloma-genital-warts/, accessed Aug 2020
 Information taken from GARDASIL-9 product insert. Revised by MSD Dec 2016