This report discovered that more than 42% of Americans between the ages of 18 – 59 are infected with HPV.
Yes, over 42%. This is a number that can’t be ignored.
We’ve written about HPV in the past, but just to provide you with a reminder about this virus, here are some facts and details about HPV that you need to know
- HPV is a virus that attacks your skin and genital areas.
- There are over 130 identified strains of HPV causing: genital warts, skin infections, and can lead to cancer of the cervix, cancer of the mouth, cancer of the penis, and other cancers.
- HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. It can be spread through vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, genital touching or skin-on-skin contact of the genitals.
- Anyone who engages in sexual contact is at risk for HPV.
- HPV can cause genital warts that can appear on the vulva, cervix, penis, scrotum, rectum or thighs. HPV can also cause cancer. With these strains of HPV, there are no signs or symptoms of the virus.
In this most recent study about HPV, researchers learned that specific high-risk strains of HPV have infected 25.1% of men and 20.4% of women. These are the strains that cause cancer, and from this recent study we have learned that is has caused approximately 31,000 cases of cancer in each year of the study (2011 – 2014).
The underlying message from this recent study and from one of the lead authors on the report is this:
“If we can get 11 and 12-year olds to get the vaccine, we’ll make some progress. You need to give it before kids become sexually active, before they get infected. By the time they’re in their mid-20s, people are infected and it’s too late. This is a vaccine against cancer – that’s the message,” says Dr. Geraldine McQuillan, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (From the New York Times
This study, titled Prevalence of HPV in Adults Aged 18-69: United States, 2011 – 2014
also found that 7.3% of Americans aged 18 – 69 were infected orally with HPV and 4% were infected with the high-risk strains that cause cancers of the pharynx and mouth.
It is important to remember and understand that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. This is something that we cannot emphasize enough and why we need to raise awareness about this dangerous and preventable virus.