Can Oral Sex Cause Cancer?

BY HIV Plus Editors

October 28 2009 11:00 PM ET

Infection with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus is responsible for at least one third of all new oral and throat cancer cases, according to a leading cancer institute. "In the past oral cancers were almost always associated with smoking and alcohol abuse," says Solomon Hamburg, president of the Tower Cancer Research Foundation. Not anymore. Today, HPV is found in about one third of all oral cancer tumors. While HPV can be transmitted through a number of sexual practices, researchers believe infections via oral sex are closely linked with head, neck, and throat cancers. And unfortunately, male and female condoms are not 100% effective in preventing HPV.

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