Contrary to what’s traditionally been believed, anal infection with the virus that causes genital warts is common in heterosexual men, a new study confirms.

Until recent years, there had been little interest in studying the prevalence of anal infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) in men who have sex exclusively, or primarily, with women — the belief being that they were unlikely to harbour an anal infection.

However, in the new study, researchers found that among 902 men from the US, Mexico and Brazil, 12% had an anal HPV infection.

All had had sex exclusively with women in recent months, though some said they had had sex with a man in the past — ranging from 6.5% of the US men to 17% of the Brazilian men.

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