(HealthDay News) – Newly acquired oral infections with oncogenic human papilloma virus (HPV) are rare, and infections typically clear within a year, according to a study published online July 2 in The Lancet.

Aimee R. Kreimer, MD, of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, and colleagues conducted the HPV Infection in Men cohort study, analyzing data from 1,626 men aged 18–73 years. Oral rinse-and-gargle samples and questionnaire data were used to determine the natural history of oral HPV infection in men.

The researchers found that during the first 12 months of follow-up 4.4% of men acquired an incident oral HPV infection; 1.7%, an oral oncogenic HPV infection; and 0.6%, an oral oncogenic infection with genotype HPV 16. Acquisition of a new oral oncogenic HPV infection was significantly higher in men who were smokers and in men who were single (not married or living with a partner). The incidence of oral oncogenic HPV infections in men was similar across countries and age groups and did not differ according to reported sexual behaviors. Median duration of oral infection was 6.9, 6.3, and 7.3 months for any type of HPV, oncogenic HPV, and HPV 16, respectively.

“Newly acquired oral oncogenic HPV infections in healthy men were rare and most were cleared within one year,” the authors write. “Additional studies into the natural history of HPV are needed to inform development of infection-related prevention efforts.”

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Two authors disclosed financial ties to Merck, which partially funded the study, and GlaxoSmithKline.

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