HPV – human papillomavirus – is a common sexually-transmitted infection. HPV infection is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women, and is now being recognized as a major cause of oral cancer. HPV is responsible for 60–70 percent of cancers of the throat, tonsils and tongue.
HPV infection is the most common type of sexually-transmitted infection, so it can affect almost anyone who engages in oral or genital sex. But recently the number of HPV-related oral cancers in men has risen sharply. Men can acquire HPV infection from oral sex, and their immune systems are less effective at fighting HPV than women's.
Often there is no way to tell that you are infected with HPV. Infection may not cause any symptoms at all, or may cause simple mouth sores that resemble other forms of infection.
Because HPV infection can lead to oral cancer, be on the watch for these symptoms, and alert your physician or dentist if you experience them.
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