Oral Sex Increases HPV Infection Risk

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Oral sex and open-mouthed kissing were independently associated with the development of oral human papillomavirus infection, according to results of a recent case-control study.

The study was conducted at two institutions in the Baltimore area. The researchers examined whether sexual behaviors associated with oropharyngeal cancer increased the risk for oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.


The control group included 332 individuals from an outpatient clinic. HPV infection was detected in 4.8% of patients in this group. There was a 2.9% rate of HPV infection among 210 men aged 18 to 23 in the study group.

In the control group, the risk for developing HPV infection independently increased as the number of lifetime oral sex partners increased (P=.007, for trend) and as the number of lifetime vaginal sex partners increased (P=.003, for trend).

In the group of 18- to 23-year-old men, the risk for oral HPV infection increased with the number of recent oral sex partners (P=.046, for trend) or open-mouthed kissing partners (P=.023, for trend). The odds of oral HPV infection did not increase with the number of vaginal sex partners in this group.



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