High alcohol intake tied to increased HPV infection risk

High alcohol intake tied to increased HPV infection risk

A high alcohol intake is linked to a heightened risk of human papillomavirus infection among men, suggests a new study.

Researchers at the H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute and colleagues wanted to find out if there was any association between drinking patterns and susceptibility to HPV infection.

The research included 1,313 men who were already taking part in the US arm of the HPV in Men (HIM) study, an international study that is tracking the natural history of HPV infection in men.

Participants filled in extensive and validated questionnaires on their long term sexual history and diet in the preceding 12 months.

The food frequency questionnaire also asked about alcohol, including serving size, frequency, and type.

The men underwent a medical examination two weeks before the start of the study, and then every six months afterwards. Samples were taken from three genital areas to test for the presence of HPV.

Alcohol intake was groupedaccording to daily consumption of less than 0.10 g/day in the bottom 25 per cent (quartile) of consumption up to 9.91 g or more a day for those in the top 25 per cent.

Men who habitually drank more tended to be younger, smokers, of white ethnicity, to have had more sexual partners, and they were more likely to be circumcised - which may protect against infection - than those who drank less.

Average daily alcohol intake among those who tested positive for HPV was significantly higher than among the 514 men who tested negative. It was 4.52 g for those testing positive, compared with 3.13 g for those testing negative.

For those testing positive for the HPV types associated with increased cancer risk, average daily alcohol intake was 5.23 g; while for those testing positive for types not associated with cancer, it was 5.29 g; and for the four types against which the HPV vaccine is active, it was 6.31 g.

When further analysis was done of HPV prevalence, this was significantly higher among men in the top 25 per cent of alcohol consumption compared with the bottom 25 per cent: 68.9 per cent versus 56.7 per cent for any HPV type and 35.2 per cent versus 22.8 per cent for those types associated with increased cancer risk.

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