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    HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Hey guys,

    I'm new here and found this site by doing a Google search for "gay forums" and heard pretty good things about JUB and so I thought I'd join, didn't know where else to start really and I have been here before (years back) looking at porn reviews so I'm somewhat familiar with the site but was never really active in the forums.

    So while not to change the subject of this thread, I do want to give some quick background information on why I'm started this thread, I hope that's OK? Yes, I have done my fair share of barebacking in my past, and just recently as a few weeks ago (I bottomed which is something I've rarely done.) I went in to see my colorectal doctor last week to have a routine anal examination and she recommended I have a HPV pap smear since I've had a history of barebacking (even just one time she said, you need to have it done!) So I did and I'm waiting on my results of the test to see if any further testing is needed. At the end of the appointment she discussed with me how HPV is like the number one STD (I forget if she said world-wide or just USA based) but anyways, I was a bit surprised because HPV isn't something that is really talked about nor is it even a part of regular STD screenings (my guess is because a blood test doesn't detect it.) Yes I've heard of warts and I knew that was HPV related, I've had a friend here and there over the years that ended up with anal warts but that was as much as I really knew about HPV, other than it potentially causing cervical cancer is women...I had never heard this same issue to be a concern in Men and was quite alarmed!

    So getting back to the post topic here...

    Over the past few weeks I've done a lot of reading on HPV, specifically among gay men and how it's spread, you don't even have to have sex, it can just spread with skin-skin contact, kissing, etc...I was like WOW...I had no idea! Most articles go on to say how over 50 percent of the population will end up having at least one strain of HPV in their lifetime and a few of them are known to cause cancer. Of course the vaccine for the potential cancerous strains came out way after the age cut off for me so that's not an option.

    So I kinda made a decision before going to the colorectal doctor, that I was done with barebacking (top or bottom), I've taken too many risks with contracting HIV (I'm on PrEP btw) and I'm done taking these risks, it's just not worth it anymore and I can't handle it stress wise anymore and just got cleared last week with a clean STD/HIV panel (including a RNA/PCR test.) The only STD that I'm known to have currently is HSV 1 (which most of us have anyway.)

    So I happen to be a HUGE fan of oral sex and I started reading all of these articles online that says YES...you can get HPV via oral sex as well (whether it be blowjobs, eating ass, eating pussy, etc) yup you can get it that way too! They go on to talk about using condoms or dental dams for oral sex, but really, who is going to use a condom or a dental dam to have oral sex? As far as I'm concerned, what is the point to even have sex anymore if we have to suck or lick a piece of rubber...this shit is getting ridiculous now! Exactly what are the chances/odds that someone is going to get a specific type of HPV orally, that could potentially lead to cancer down the road? I even asked my ENT this about a year ago and he said it's very hard to get STD's in the throat, although we didn't discuss which STD's he was referring too, but I plan on bringing this up to him at my next yearly checkup.

    So to wrap this up (sorry for my first, long post!) Is this something that gay men need to be concerned about when it comes to oral sex or is it being over thinked? Personally, I'm fine with ditching anal sex but I'll be damned if I'm going to stop having oral sex or having it with rubbers and dental dams. I've been sucking cock and eating ass for 26 years now and I'm not going to stop doing it now!

    Would be interested in hearing some feedback on this, I am a bit concerned about it but I feel you just have to pick the lesser of the two evils. It seems that everything that is enjoyable in life, has either STD risks or cancer risks associated with it and I'm a bit frustrated with all this BS that is going on in this world today.

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Bravo for your colorectal MD. She is up on the latest research and recommendations.

    Your ENT, however, needs to catch up on his research.

    Quote Originally Posted by Davidpriddy
    Over the past few weeks I've done a lot of reading on HPV, specifically among gay men and how it's spread, you don't even have to have sex, it can just spread with skin-skin contact, kissing, etc...I was like WOW...
    The reading that you have done is correct. However, let's back up a bit and break down what we know:
    • There are close to 200 different types of HPV. Some of the types cause warts, some cause abnormal skin growths, some cause cancers, some cause very aggressive cancers and some don't seem to do anything.
    • Some types seem to have become very specialized for certain areas of the body, so the type that would cause a wart on your finger is not the necessarily the same type that would cause warts on your penis or anus.
    • From what we know, the HPV types that cause warts are not the same types that cause cancer- this is very important to understand. The reasons that your MD was wise to recommend you get an anal pap smear is that the types of HPV that are likely to cause cancer do not show any apparent signs like warts or obvious lesions.
    • There is definitive research that says that the rise in anus and rectal cancers in gay men is due to HPV infections.
    • There is definitive research that says that the rise in head and neck cancers in non-smoking adult men and women is due to HPV infections- probably because oral sex is a common activity for most sexually active adults.
    • The research that says that most of us have HPV by the time we reach adulthood is correct. This statement is very broad though. If you had a wart on your finger in grade school, that was an HPV exposure but that was more than likely not a type that would infect that anus or genitals.
    • Unfortunately, if you're of college age and you're reasonably sexually active, the chances are very good that you've been exposed to one of the types that affects that anogenital area. And again unfortunately, some of the types that cause anogenital cancers also cause oral and throat cancers.
    • Except for a few backward, regressive States in the US (yes, we mean you Texas) most young boys and girls are immunized for the HPV types that are likely to cause anal and genital cancers (types 6, 11, 16 and 18 which are targeted more toward cervical cancer in women). The maximum protection is to be immunized before you are infected (i.e. before you become sexually active) however some physicians are recommending that everyone who didn't receive the HPV immunization before puberty consider getting the shots. There is a new shot that extends the coverage to additional types (types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58), so even some of the people who were immunized with the old shots (Gardasil, Cervarix) may want to get the newer shot (Gardasil-9) that covers more types.


    Quote Originally Posted by Davidpriddy
    They go on to talk about using condoms or dental dams for oral sex, but really, who is going to use a condom or a dental dam to have oral sex? As far as I'm concerned, what is the point to even have sex anymore if we have to suck or lick a piece of rubber...this shit is getting ridiculous now! Exactly what are the chances/odds that someone is going to get a specific type of HPV orally, that could potentially lead to cancer down the road?
    It's not really possible to quote probabilities when it comes to oral sex and HPV. We can say that we know that head/neck cancers are increasing and that when we run testing on those tumors, about 30% of the tumors test positive for HPV. But there's not enough research to really make definitive statements about risk and likelihood.

    So, what can you do?
    • Ask your physician about Gardasil-9. This may offer you some protection against future infections by types that you haven't been exposed to in the past. There's not enough research to know whether is will also prevent oral cancers but since we know that there's an overlap between the types that cause cervical cancers and the types that cause oral cancers, it might be of value in preventing oral cancers.
    • The biggest thing that no one wants to talk about in risk reduction is reducing the number of sexual partners that you have. This means making wiser choices (i.e. if that guy is looking for hookups on Grindr all the time, changes are that he's not going to be a wise choice if you're concerned about HPV and other STDs).
    • Yes, you can use condoms for oral sex and that will help reduce some risk with HPV but because HPV is spread by skin to skin contact and not by body fluids, condoms may not be enough to completely eliminate HPV exposure risk.
    • Be reasonable in your conduct and considerations. Sure, you can reduce risk by never sucking another dick ever again. But if you really enjoy sucking dick, then by all means, suck dick- life is too short. If you're concerned about risk, then consider ways to continue sucking dick responsibly. Reduce the number of different dicks that you suck. Consider being in a monogam-ish relationship.
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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Thanks for the reply but as we all know, monogamy is pretty rare amongst gay men these days, I gave up on that idea a long time ago. Yup, I'll just keep on with my oral. BTW you mentioned the G9 vaccine, but don't you have to have that by age 26 at the latest? I've asked about these before with doctors and they say I'm way too late for any vaccine (I'm 41 now.) In my teens and 20's, obviously the vaccine wasn't out yet nor had I even really heard about HPV.

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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Davidpriddy View Post
    Thanks for the reply but as we all know, monogamy is pretty rare amongst gay men these days, I gave up on that idea a long time ago. Yup, I'll just keep on with my oral. BTW you mentioned the G9 vaccine, but don't you have to have that by age 26 at the latest? I've asked about these before with doctors and they say I'm way too late for any vaccine (I'm 41 now.) In my teens and 20's, obviously the vaccine wasn't out yet nor had I even really heard about HPV.
    There are guidelines for the HPV immunizations but ultimately, it's up to you and your physician.

    Thanks to the ACA, most immunizations are considered preventative and are covered by insurance policies in the US. Your insurer may try to make your age an issue because of the guidelines, but most of the time it should be covered.
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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    About oral sex and condoms,

    It can be pleasurable. Most of the time when I give head, I'm using condoms. I personally enjoy the taste of strawberry as opposed to skin. Plus, HSV1 can be transmitted to the genitals through oral sex as well as all of the bacterial STIs.
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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Quote Originally Posted by thenewkcm View Post
    About oral sex and condoms,

    It can be pleasurable.
    My guess is you would be in the minority in this, I have no desire to suck on rubber, you might as well put a rubber on a hotdog then. I'll take my chances lol...

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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Davidpriddy View Post
    My guess is you would be in the minority in this, I have no desire to suck on rubber, you might as well put a rubber on a hotdog then. I'll take my chances lol...
    More power to you. Just be careful and remember that oral sex can sometimes be just as risky as condomless anal sex.
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    JUB Addict mikey3000's Avatar
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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Multiple studies have shown that circumcision greatly reduces HPV infection in both males and females, but apparently so does Gardasil9, and Merck can't make $$ off of circumcision.
    Challenge your fears, don't fear your challenges.

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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Using a condom provides peace of mind with the added value that a condom contributes to a significant reduction in risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.

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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Just to give a quick update...my anal pap smear results came in and everything was negative/normal 100%, so that's a relief...honestly I wasn't expecting that so I think I'm done with the barebacking shit. I've taken too many risks over the past 10 years or so and it's time to call it quits!

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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Quote Originally Posted by mikey3000 View Post
    Multiple studies have shown that circumcision greatly reduces HPV infection in both males and females, but apparently so does Gardasil9, and Merck can't make $$ off of circumcision.
    Regarding the circumcision...are you referring to the top or person receiving oral or either/both?

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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    So, quick questions...

    How much does a HPV vaccine cost?

    Where is it given?

    Will doctors 100% refuse to give you the vaccine, if you order then 26, if so why?

    Where is the best place to get the vaccine?...I know CVS gives them out.

    What to expect...I heard their a series of vaccines, idk...

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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Quote Originally Posted by JesseGon View Post
    .How much does a HPV vaccine cost?
    Depends on your insurance and your age.

    If you're under 26, insurance should cover it 100% (under the ACA, insurance plans cover 100% of any immunization).

    If you don't have insurance, it's $150 per shot. The HPV shot is like the hepatitis B shot- it has 2 boosters (total cost $450 for 3 shots). You get the first shot, then 2 months after the first shot , you get the second shot. The third shot is given 6 months after the first shot.

    A comparison to think about: a Pap smear test for anal cancer costs about $150 out of pocket, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by JesseGon View Post
    Where is it given?
    If you mean which body site, it's usually given in the muscle of the upper arm (the deltoid). It does have a sting for a minute or so- comparable to the measles/mump vaccine.

    Quote Originally Posted by JesseGon View Post
    Will doctors 100% refuse to give you the vaccine, if you order then 26, if so why?
    Where is the best place to get the vaccine?...I know CVS gives them out.
    You don't need a prescription for immunizations of any type. You can walk into any public health clinic or in most states, any pharmacy, and ask for the shot for the flu, measles, tetanus or HPV, etc.

    The reason that the recommendation limits the age to 26 is that once you're exposed to HPV, the shot likely doesn't have any preventative benefit. The studies say that most people who are sexually active will contract HPV, so they want you to get the shot early- preferably before you have had sex with another person. This is the case for most immunizations: if you have had mumps, for example, there's no point in getting the mumps vaccine because you've already had the mumps.

    A lot of people in public health are fighting this recommendation because the new shots cover 9 types of HPV that are likely to cause cancer. So, even if you have been sexually active, the chances are that you haven't been exposed to all 9 types that cause cancer; at least the shot would give you protection against the the types that you haven't been exposed to.
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    Re: HPV & Oral Sex?!

    Quote Originally Posted by mikey3000 View Post
    Multiple studies have shown that circumcision greatly reduces HPV infection in both males and females, but apparently so does Gardasil9, and Merck can't make $$ off of circumcision.
    Quote Originally Posted by Davidpriddy View Post
    Regarding the circumcision...are you referring to the top or person receiving oral or either/both?
    It's bit more complicated than this (of course).

    So, the deal with HPV is that it is specialized by location. So, the type of HPV that causes warts on the finger isn't the same type that causes warts on the penis or anus.

    Of the types that cause warts on the penis, the infection isn't just on the head of the penis. The infection can be anywhere around the genitals - the anus, the rectum, the "taint", the scrotum, the shaft of penis, etc. These HPV types have become specialized to infect anywhere around the genitals.

    There are studies that say that uncircumcised men shed more HPV from the the skin around the genitals and in their urine when compared to circumcised men. This doesn't mean a lot in the long run because both circumcised men and uncircumcised men can also shed HPV from anywhere the virus has infected: the head of the penis, the shaft of the penis, the scrotum, the anus, etc.

    In other words, no one is recommending that men go get a circumcision just because they want to prevent HPV. It doesn't work that way.

    To answer your question about top/oral... it doesn't matter. What the circumcision studies say is that there's no difference in infection between uncircumcised vs circumcised men- both groups of men will contract HPV when exposed. The studies found that there's more HPV found in more places around the genitals in uncircumcised men, possibly because the moist area under the foreskin is an easier place for HPV to reproduce and spread to other ano-genital areas.

    Source.
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