joreth: (being wise)
http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-oral-hpv-20120127,0,1665761.story

A couple of interesting points here, mostly good-to-know news, with a little bit of bad news.

First, oral HPV seems to be spread through oral sex, not kissing or casual contact.  That's good news and good-to-know news.

Second, 7% of teenagers already have oral HPV.  That's bad-ish news (bad because it's more than 0% but "ish" because it's "only" 7%).

Third, among those 7%, only a very small percentage of them will develop oral cancer and, according to another article recently, apparently HPV-caused oral cancers has a higher treatment success rate than cancers caused by other means (like smoking).  That's good news.

Fourth, HPV-caused cancers is on the rise with 70% of all new cases of oral cancer being caused by HPV, surpassing tobacco as the primary cause of oral cancers.  But don't freak out - 80% of the population has or has had or will have HPV at some point in their lives, and the vast majority of them will never develop any cancer.  However, this study shows that 1 in 10 boys (yes, BOYS) currently have an infection that *could* lead to cancer.  This is not a female problem, it's a people problem - get vaccinated.

Fifth, apparently, the more oral sex you've had, the greater your risk of developing throat cancer.  That's actually not new news - we already know that the more exposure you have to the virus, the greater your risk of developing cancer.  That's why they FDA won't OK the vaccine for people over 30 - the older you are, the more sex you've probably had, the more exposure you've had to the virus, the less likely the vaccine is to work because it doesn't do shit if you already have the strain it protects against.

But since no one actually knows which strains they have or have had, it's still beneficial to get the vaccine if you're over 30 and have the money for it.  If you don't have that strain, the vaccine still works.  It's just that, being over 30 means you've had more chances to have caught one of those strains, since they're the most common ones.  That's all it means by "less effective" and why it's not FDA approved.  But it's not banned either, so find a doctor to give you the vaccine off-label.  It's legal and safe, just expensive since your insurance probably won't cover it.

Doctors recommend using protection even during oral sex.  It's not "safer" than PIV sex (penis-in-vagina), you just can't get pregnant from it.  Problem is that most people don't talk about using protection for oral sex.  "It's something people are not comfortable talking about, but it is protective ... If you are going to be intimate with someone, there are some adult conversations you need to have."

Date: 1/28/12 05:12 am (UTC)From: (Anonymous)
Thank you for the updated information and interpretation (and the stuff they didn't tell us - I'm over 30).

I guess that if a person has HPV there is no way to know which strain? I inferred this because of what you said about not being able to know whether or not the vaccine would be effective because one might have *that* strain - but I thought I would check to be sure.

Date: 1/28/12 09:38 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] jcbemis.livejournal.com
just got the bill for my first (of 3) hpv vaccine shots - $177.22. Yes I can afford them, but as you said, not cheap.

Date: 1/28/12 11:36 pm (UTC)From: (Anonymous)
I wonder if the increasing rate in guys is because the virus is more common or because it's more common or expected or normal for guys to give girls oral sex? (I mean obviously some of it's male male contact but that probably wouldn't explain all of it.)

I know 15 yrs ago when I was in high school it was still pretty common & expected for girls to give guys oral but not so much the other way around, now it's apparently a lot more common for guys to do it.

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