Human Papillomavirus: Confronting the Epidemic-A Urologist's Perspective

Rev Urol. Summer 2005;7(3):135-44.


The human papillomavirus (HPV) has long been associated with the development of penile lesions-condyloma acuminatum and verrucous carcinoma of the penis. More recently, HPV has been implicated as an etiology of more serious neoplasias in men-penile carcinoma and other anogenital squamous-cell carcinomas. HPV is now widely recognized as responsible for more than 95% of cervical cancers in women. HPV seems to have been receiving relatively scant attention to date-from physicians in general, and particularly from urologists-as a venereal disease of significant concern. Yet HPV is recognized to be the most frequently acquired sexually transmitted viral infection worldwide. It is estimated that approximately 6 million new cases of HPV are sexually transmitted annually in the United States. Fortunately, many, if not most, of these HPV infections are transient. However, each newly acquired infection has the potential to persist as an incurable, lifelong affliction, generating a significant increase in the long-term risk of cancer for patients and their sexual partners. Many of these HPV-related cancers will not become manifest until decades later.