According to recent statistics from the CDC, by age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection. Stats for men are less clear; while most women are diagnosed with HPV on the basis of abnormal Pap tests which check for changes in the cervix, the cervixless are less likely to know if they’re carriers unless they develop one of the two (out of 30!) sexually transmitted strains that cause genital warts, the only visible symptom of the virus.
Maintaining its disheartening stance, the study points out that HPV-linked oral cancer has been on the rise since at least 1973, and is expected to beat out those caused by tobacco and alcohol use. Already accounting for 60 percent of oropharyngeal cancers and about a third of all oral cavity and pharynx cancers in the United States, there are more than 11,000 individuals currently kicking themselves for skipping that after sex smoke. Never mind the shot of Jack that got them there in the first place. So bring out your “inconspicuous” flask everyone already knows about and, what the hell, treat yourself to that carton you’ve been eyeing at Walgreen’s. After all, increasing your chances for oral cancer by two and a half or threefold (respectively) is nothing compared to the six plus oral sex partners you met over Spring Break. Yup, the same ones who, in a cruel twist of fate, made you 8.6 times more likely to lose a tongue.