This data is the result of studying 13,089 people, all between the ages of 20 and 69, who were given a test for oral HPV infection.
According to the research, both men and women with the lowest risk of oropharyngeal cancer were those who had one or zero sexual partners in their lifetime.
The risk increased slightly with more sexual partners, and increased more drastically when the person was a smoker.
According to the study:
Non-smoking men who had had five or more oral sex partners had a prevalence of oral HPV infection of 7.4 percent. The highest prevalence of infection — reaching 15 percent — was observed among men with five or more oral sex partners and who smoked.
Despite this, Carole Fakhry (co-researcher in this study) admits that an HPV infection is not necessarily a predictor of cancer. Therefore, she says that screening for a cancer-causing oral HPV infection is difficult, to say the least. According to Dr. Fakhry:
“Currently, there are no tests that could be used for screening people for oropharyngeal cancer,” explains Dr. Fakhry. “It is a rare cancer, and for most healthy people the harms of screening for it would outweigh the benefits because of the problem of false positive test results and consequent anxiety.”