Actor Michael Douglas set the internet ablaze after telling The Guardian that his throat cancer may have been caused by the Human Papillomavirus Virus, which he contacted via oral sex. Douglas did not guarantee that oral sex is what caused his cancer, but he did imply it may have been a factor.
According to the CDC website, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Nearly every sexually-active human will contact the virus at some point in their lives, even if they only have one partner. The virus is usually passed through vaginal or anal sex, but oral transmission is also possible.
While the majority of HPV strands are harmless to humans, a few strands have been linked to conditions such as cancer. Between 1988 and 2004 the number of throat and cancer patients who also tested positive for HPV rose by 225 percent.
Information on the risks of HPV continues to grow. For now, it is best not to live in fear of HPV, as several other medical conditions pose a greater risk. The best advice is to practice sexual health. The most important step in avoiding HPV is to use a condom or other sexual barrier during oral sex.