By now many men have heard of the HPV vaccine for women. This vaccine is vitally important to help sexually active women avoid HPV infection, which is one of the most common reasons for cervical cancer. But men who want to ensure the best possible penis care should also get the vaccine, as it is designed to provide many protections for everyone, not just the females in the equation. Here’s what a man needs to know.

What is HPV, anyway?

Also known as human papillomavirus, HPV is one of the most common viruses among adults. In fact, the CDC reports that most people will be infected with it at some point in their lives. Most people aren’t aware of their infection, since so many cases are "silent" and leave no symptoms. But some do face issues, such as genital warts or cervical cancer.

What happens when a man gets HPV?

Most people already know that cervical cancer and HPV are strongly linked. But when a guy gets HPV, lots of ugly things can happen to him, too. For men, it usually shows up as genital warts. Though genital warts aren’t necessarily a health problem, they are certainly a problem for a man’s sex life; he must inform his partners that he has the warts, which can be problematic when trying to get to know a new partner. He must also be careful to wear a condom at all times, even with a regular partner, so as not to spread the warts.

HPV is also shown to have a role in a small number of cases of anal cancer, penis cancer and throat cancer. Though this is rare, the possibility can increase if a man does things that would otherwise lead to problems in those areas, such as smoking.

How can a man protect against HPV?

Fortunately, the HPV vaccine for women works for men, too. Good penis health relies on getting the proper vaccines, including the HPV vaccine. Though it is recommended that a boy receive the vaccine between the ages of 11 and 12, it can be given to men up to 26 years of age. It is always most effective when given to a man who is not yet sexually active, as he has a much lower chance of any sexually transmitted infection, including HPV, already present.

However, a man who is older than the age of 26 can take steps to protect himself, even if he isn’t eligible for the HPV vaccine. He can do this through regularly monitoring his penis health to ensure there are no changes or abnormalities in his equipment. He can also choose partners carefully and use a condom each time, until he chooses to stay monogamous with a partner and they have both been tested for HPV and other infections. If he does happen to test positive for HPV, it’s time to sit down with the doctor and discuss ways to protect his health and the health of his partners.

In addition, a man can turn to great hygiene to help his penis health stay in tip-top shape. That includes the regular use of a specially formulated penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) . A guy can benefit from alpha lipoic acid, which fights free radicals, as well as L-carnitine for better overall health. He can keep the skin smooth and supple with the addition of Shea butter and vitamin E, and for the finishing touch, turn to a crème with vitamins D and C - both known for their healing and protective properties.