oral HPV prevalence is low among most groups,” D’Souza said.
But certain groups do have higher risk. One recent study found that 11 million American men are infected with oral HPV. That means one in nine U.S. males aged 18 to 69 is infected.
Brawley said that the increase is partly a result of the sexual revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. “The increase in oral sex led to the increased number of people with [oral] HPV,” he said.
For the new study, D’Souza’s team reviewed data on more than 13,000 people, aged 20 to 69, who took part in a major federal government survey and had been tested for oral HPV infection.
This survey is a nationally representative group, so it’s likely that the vast majority of male participants who said they were the active partner in oral sex were heterosexual men engaging in cunnilingus.
To predict the risk of cancer from oral HPV infection, the researchers used the numbers of oropharyngeal cancer cases and deaths from U.S. cancer registries.
The investigators found that men and women whohad one or no oral sex partners had the lowest prevalence of cancer-causing oral HPV.
Rates of HPV infection went up in smokers, however, and the rate also went up when men and women had two or more oral sex partners, though the rates were still low.
The risk increased dramatically — to 7 percent — among men who smoked and had two to four oral sex partners. The risk rose to nearly 7.5 percent among men who didn’t smoke but who had five or more oral sex partners, D’Souza’s team found.
And the greatest risk (nearly 15 percent) was seen