A new study recently revealed that men who have never had intercourse are still at the risk of catching sexually-transmitted human papillomavirus virus (HPV) if they have oral sex.
Study author Dr Alan Nyitray from The University of Texas in Houston, said: "It reinforces the point that HPV vaccination should not be thought of only in the context of sexual behaviour."
For those who aren't aware enough, HPV is the most common sexually-transmitted infection in the US. It can cause cancer of the penis in men, and women are at risk of developing the condition in the vagina, vulva, or cervix. In fact, the infection can also cause cancer of the anus or throat in both the sexes.
The researchers analyzed 87 male virgins who were aged between 18 and 70 living in the US, Mexico or Brazil. The genital cells of the study participants were collected and investigated for 36 types of HPV. They were followed-up every six months between 2005 and 2009, Science Daily reported.
The results revealed that male virgins can still become infected with HPV.
Dr Nyitray said: "Previous studies have found HPV among female virgins, but this is the first to find it among male virgins. It reinforces the point that HPV vaccination should not be thought of only in the context of sexual behaviour."
The researchers believe that the participants may have caught HPV through oral sex. The study showed that the participants who had sex within one year of the study starting, 28.7 percent caught the virus, while 45.5 percent became infected with HPV within two years.
Lead author Dr Zhiyue Liu said: "These findings highlight the rapid acquisition of HPV after sexual debut among men and thus emphasize the importance of HPV vaccination before sexual debut."
The findings were published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.