NEJM – Journal Wacth
By Amy Orciari Herman
Men who report consuming greater amounts of alcohol are more likely to have human papillomavirus infection compared with those who drink less, according to a study in Sexually Transmitted Infections.
As part of a larger study on the natural history of HPV infection, some 1300 U.S. men completed food-frequency questionnaires and provided genital samples for HPV DNA testing. Roughly 60% tested positive for HPV.
After adjustment for confounders (including number of female sex partners), men in the highest quartile of alcohol consumption (9.91 grams/day or more) were significantly more likely to test positive for any HPV type (prevalence ratio, 1.12) and for oncogenic HPV types (PR, 1.26), relative to men in the lower three quartiles combined. (In the U.S., one standard drink contains about 14 g of pure alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.)
The researchers write: “Because differences in sexual behavior by alcohol intake do not appear to explain our findings, the observed associations could be due to other factors such as the systemic effects of alcohol on immune function.”
Sexually Transmitted Infections article (Free abstract)