[Question #2989] HPV risk with oral sex

40 months ago
I am concerned about my risk of oral cancer with preforming oral sex with women.  I am a heterosexual male.  I have had 3 female partners which I have preformed oral sex on.  One was a one night stand in 2011 when I was less educated on this matter (I worry about that one).  Are there any credible screening tests? If I've had a plantar wart in my early twenties, do I have some immunity to HPV? (even if plantar warts are not the 16-18 strain)? Would it be of ANY benefit to get the Gardasil vaccine even though it would not be recommended for me due to  my age (I'm 34)?  Thank you for offering this service
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
40 months ago
Welcome to the Forum.  I'll be glad to comment.  Oral HPV infections are a subject of considerable interest and research and there is still much to learn.  Oral HPV infection is far less common than genital HPV.  Recent research data suggest that about 8-9% of sexually active men in the U.S. have oral HPV infections and indeed there is an association of oral HPV with oral cancer however few (likely far less than 1%) of persons with oral HPV will go on to get cancer.  Certain co-factors, particularly smoking or chewing tobacco are associated with increased risk for oral cancer.  At present, there are no recommended or approved tests for HPV oral infections or in men at all.  Further, even if there were such a test, I would recommend against it since even if you had oral HPV it would not mean that you are at any meaningful risk for oral cancer.  Currently, most dentists visually check for signs of oral cancer and other pathology and this is likely sufficient for prevention. 

You re beyond the age range for which HPV vaccination is recommend but there is no reason not to get it if you wish.  you would probably need to pay for it yourself (About $500-$600)

I hope these comments are helpful.  If any of this is unclear, please feel free to use your up to two follow-up questions to seen clarification.  EWH
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