Almost half of American men and women under 60 are infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV), putting them at risk for certain cancers, federal health officials reported Thursday. Each year, 31,000 men and women are diagnosed with cancers caused by HPV - which, in most cases, would have been preventable with the HPV vaccine, according to the CDC.
Since the survey did not include populations that are considered to be at higher risk - people in prison, drug users, and the homeless - the researchers say their estimates are probably low. Those areas include the cervix and vagina in women, the penis in men, and the anus and neck in both genders. The report specifically looked at adults who didn't receive recommendations to get the HPV vaccine.
Positive results of the study would offer women the opportunity to protect themselves and their sexual partners against potentially deadly HPV infection through the simple application of an low-priced, over-the-counter product. Almost 80 million people in the US are now infected with the virus, according to CDC estimates, and nearly 14 million (including teens) become infected with HPV each year.
On the other hand, non-Hispanic black adults (4.3%) had the highest prevalence of any and high-risk genital HPV. Reviewing the data for sexually active women ages 14 to 24, women who'd received the vaccine had a 2.1 percent infection rate compared to a rate of 16.9 percent for those who were unvaccinated.
However, inoculation rates for boys continue to trail that of girls, with 63 percent of girls starting the series of shots compared to 50 percent of boys. Some develop genital warts, but the infection generally goes away on its own and many people never have health problems.
Wyand added that "HPV immunization is a sparkling triumph of public health".
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Around 99 per cent of cervical cancer diagnoses are related to infections like HPV.
That's why, she said, early vaccination is so important.
Paskett believes the vaccine should be a regular part of a child's vaccine program and not singled out as something special. It is a cancer vaccine, ' Paskett told The Washington Post. "This vaccine has the potential to prevent 30,000 cases of cancer each year and is woefully underused".
The report was published today (April 6) by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
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