How Do Men Get Rid of HPV?

Fact Checked

iStockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

HPV Identification

HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It's an infection that can be easily spread from one person to the next, including via sexual contact. Men and women are able to get human papillomavirus, and it can spread as the result of vaginal, anal and oral sex. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, approximately three of every four people develop a genital HPV infection at some point. An HPV infection can cause genital warts, anal warts and, in women, cervical dysplasia--a condition that leads to an elevated risk of developing cervical cancer. Although HPV can be detected in males, there is no FDA-approved test to diagnose an HPV infection in men.

Immune System

Although symptoms of an HPV infection--including genital warts--may disappear over time, neither men nor women are able to completely rid their bodies of human papillomavirus. This is because the virus is able to lie "dormant" within the body's cells. When the virus is lying dormant, it's essentially hiding from the body's immune system. When the virus is dormant, it can't be detected and eliminated by the body. Consequently, although the immune system can fend off an "active" infection (when the virus is actively dividing), the virus can survive in the body for years via dormancy. As a result, even when men aren't showing symptoms of an HPV infection, the virus may remain within the body.

Treatments

In general, the only HPV treatments are for symptoms of an infection. This can include various treatments for getting rid of genital or anal warts (which include creams, surgery, and killing the warts by freezing them). Otherwise, there's also a vaccine for HPV that is commercially available.

×