Nearly half of US adults infected with genital HPV

07 April 2017, 02:28 | Robert Harris

A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report shows the amount of young people who have been vaccinated against HPV. Allan Reinikka

A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report shows the amount of young people who have been vaccinated against HPV

Some types of HPV can cause genital warts and are considered low risk, with a small chance for causing cancer, the CDC report said.

The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention published a report this Thursday with worrying numbers for health authorities in the United States.

The prevalence of oral HPV was lowest among Asian adults and highest among black adults.

Geraldine McQuillan, the lead author of the report, said that this problem is often left behind as people do not give the attention it deserves. "People really need to realize that this is a serious concern".

Just as in cases of genital HPV, rates were higher for men than women overall and in all racial and ethnic groups.

That percentage jumped to more than 42 percent during the two-year period if any type of genital HPV - the most common form of the virus - was included, the CDC found. Most never know they've been infected and have no symptoms.

About 4 percent of all adults had an oral infection with a cancer-causing strain of HPV.

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The virus is thought to account for about 80% of cervical cancers.

The research team, led by Dr Kevin Pollock, senior epidemiologist at Health Protection Scotland, believe the reduction in HPV may lead to a commensurate drop in cervical cancer cases, and hope to see a decrease in new diagnoses within a year. The agency says that most of these cancer cases could be prevented with the usage of the human papillomavirus vaccine.

Levels of the cancer-causing human papillomavirus in Scotland have plummeted 90 per cent in young women after a vaccination campaign that started in 2008. Close to 40 percent of women had any type of HPV and 20 percent had a cancer-causing strain, the researchers reported.

Neck and head cancer are some of the implications of HPV, and some experts say that 70 percent of all head and neck cancers are caused by HPV, most likely spread through oral sex.

Often, the cancer does not develop until years after a patient was infected with HPV. But still, one out of every four men smoke every do one out of 20 women.

"Collectively, these data demonstrate the significant and continued benefits of the HPV vaccination programme in Scotland, which has achieved a consistent and high uptake of around 90 per cent in 12 to 13-year-old girls". The agency has stated that even when the vaccination rates are augmenting, the rates among boys and girls are not as high as expected.

The vaccine is estimated to prevent 5,000 cancer deaths annually, said Dr. Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics and director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She says that people might think that the vaccines are encouraging children to become promiscuous at early ages, which could be stopping parents from acting.

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