By Barry Eitel
More than 40 percent of American adults are infected with genital human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Certain forms of HPV are linked to a highly elevated risk of several cancers. According to the report published Thursday, 25 percent of men aged between 18 and 59 years old and 20 percent of women have high-risk HPV.
Overall, 45 percent of men and 40 percent of women are infected with some sort of HPV.
The CDC looked at data from the years 2011 to 2014. The report is the first time CDC surveyed how many men were carriers of HPV. The study also expanded the number of HPV strains included.
While some strains of HPV have very few symptoms but can cause cancer, other forms cause genital warts but do not elevate the sufferer’s cancer risk.
“Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States,” the CDC said in its report. “Some HPV types can cause genital warts and are considered low risk, with a small chance for causing cancer. Other types are considered high risk, causing cancer in different areas of the body including the cervix and vagina in women, penis in men, and anus and oropharynx [throat] in both men and women.”
A HPV vaccine first released in 2006 appears to be having an impact, though. The report found that HPV infection in teenage girls has dropped 60 percent since 2010.