Dr. D’Souza also emphasized the need for good communication and, in particular, the need for otolaryngologists to tell patients that oral HPV infection is somewhat common and does not indicate promiscuity. “It only takes one partner to get a sexually transmitted disease,” she said. She also emphasized that the vaccine works equally well in girls and boys. For boys, she said that the key is that they are getting vaccinated for their own protection against penile warts, anal cancer and, hopefully, for oropharyngeal cancer as well and not just to protect future female partners from exposure to cervical HPV infection.
Explore This IssueAugust 2013
To help physicians talk to their patients, Dr. D’Souza and her colleague Carole Fakhry, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins, have developed a pamphlet that contains questions and answers on common behavioral issues and will be published in an upcoming volume of the Oral Oncology journal.