There has been a lot of media hype lately over oral sex and cancer due to HPV in recent months. Now, a news report out of South Africa is getting teens and parents even more to worry about, but what’s the real story? Read on and see the real deal with oral sex and HPV.

HPV and teens

Recently, doctors and dentists have noticed that the Human Papaloma Virus, or HPV is not just giving women cancer in their cervix, it’s also infecting men (and women) in their throats (and anus). Although the throat and mouth cancer doesn’t happen as often as cervical cancer or anal cancer.

Still, it does happen and in South Africa, it’s happening a lot. Here’s an excerpt from a scientific news website:

The prevalence of oral sex and dagga (pipe smoking) use among teenagers is contributing to an alarming increase in mouth and throat cancers, the South African Dental Association (Sada) has said.

Briefing the media in Cape Town this week, Maretha Smit, CEO of Sada, said mouth and throat cancers globally affect up to 400 000 new patients per year. Cancers associated with HPV, dagga and hubbly bubbly pipe-smoking occurred mostly in young adults.

So that’s what the media is focusing on, the real sex science story should be more about this:

Dr. André van Zyl, from the School of Dentistry at the University of Pretoria, said recent research showed that dagga smoking (just as risky as tobacco because it contains carcinogens) was “strongly” associated with HPV-positive OPC.

“In those who had smoked the substance at a rate of at least one joint per day for five or more years, a more than 11-fold increase in risk for developing HPV-positive cancer was seen,”

Why would smoking cigarettes, marijuana and “dagga pipes” make you so much more susceptible to catching HPV in your throat? Here’s more about that by Dr. Van Zyl.

It was likely that the cannabinoids modified the immune system thereby causing HPV to spread more easily during oral sex. “Once it has spread, the cannabinoids will also promote the persistence of the HPV infection, as well as promoting tumour formation by suppressing those parts of the immune system required to protect against cancer.”

Basically, smoking lowers your immune system which makes contracting HPV more likely and once you have it, HPV grows more rapidly because your immune system is compromised due to smoking.

Funny that the media is saying oral sex is bad, but smoking is getting a pass. Really, all sex is risky but that doesn’t mean people are going to stop having it. What’s more important is to encourage teens to use condoms and dental dams with oral sex.

Ladies, I highly encourage you to try the female condom, you can put it on and it’s done. Then it’s no longer up to your partner to ensure your protection.

Don’t stop having oral sex, just start having safe sex.