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HPV in men: How to identify and treat

HPV in men does not always show symptoms but when genital warts are present they can appear on the penis or scrotum, for example. However the absence of these symptoms is not enough to say that the man does not have HPV because sometimes the disease does not present symptoms that can be seen with the naked eye.

Even if you do not show any symptoms with the naked eye, you can transmit the HPV virus to his partners through intimate contact and it is therefore recommended you use a condom during vaginal, anal or oral sex.

As in women, HPV in men does not have a definitive cure because the virus is not always eliminated from the body. However it is possible to control the symptoms of the infection through treatments indicated by a general practitioner or urologist.

Symptoms of HPV in men

HPV in men: How to identify and treat
HPV in men: How to identify and treat
Images of CDC - Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

The main symptom of HPV in men is the appearance of warts on the penis, scrotum, anus, mouth or throat. However, the symptoms are rare, so most men do not know they are infected with the virus. So, the best way to diagnose HPV in men is through exams such as peniscopy, done my an urologist.

Even if you cannot observe a wart in his genital region, he can transmit the virus to other people through sexual contact.

Treatment for HPV in men

When the symptoms for HPV are present they must be treated because they favor the appearance of penile, anal and throat cancer. The treatment for HPV can be done by medical indication during about 2 years and usually imply the use of HPV ointments, like Podofilox prescribed by the urologist.

When the man receives the diagnosis of the HPV virus in a routine exam, the doctor may decide not to initiate treatment because sometimes the HPV virus cures itself and doesn't need any clinical treatment, but that doesn't happen in all people.

Vaccine against HPV in men

The vaccine against HPV in men, sold commercially like Gardasil, protects against the appearance of genital warts and anal cancer, and should be taken by men under the age of 26, even if they have been infected by the HPV virus before. This is because the vaccine protects against various strands of the disease. This vaccine is especially indicated for men who maintain sexual relationships with other men and patients that are HIV positive, but all men should be vaccinated. See more about this vaccine.

How does a man catch HPV

Men can catch HPV through skin to skin contact with an infected person. In this way, it is possible for the HPV virus to be transmitted through sexual relationships without a condom or when the condom doesn't cover the area that has warts. So, when it is not possible to cover the affected region and the risk of transmission is very big, it is recommended you refrain from having sex.


  • CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION. HPV and Men - Fact Sheet. Link: <www.cdc.gov>. Access in 17 Apr 2019
  • SOCIEDADE PORTUGUESA DE ANDROLOGIA, MEDICINA SEXUAL E REPRODUÇÃO. Consensos HPV Masculino. Link: <www.spandrologia.pt>. Access in 03 Sep 2019
  • SANTOS, Iris Mattos. Infecção por HPV em homens: Importância na transmissão, tratamento e prevenção do vírus. 111-118, 2011
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