In a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one if five American adults have a type of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) that can put them at risk for certain types of cancer. The rate jumped in two years from 23 percent to 42 percent with more men than women having HPV. The researchers at the CDC are hoping to bring more awareness to HPV and to get screened.
HPV causes the human papillomavirus infection. Most cases of HPV have no symptoms and can resolve itself almost spontaneously. Though some can become warts or precancerous lesions that can increase the risk of certain types of cancer, including cervical, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, or throat cancers. HPV is transmitted through sexual contact. The risk of getting HPV come by an early age of first sexual intercourse, multiple partners, smoking, and poor immune functions. Occasionally, HPV can spread from mother to baby during pregnancy. HPV vaccines can prevent the most common types of infection for children ages 11 to 12. Unfortunately, at this time there is no specific treatment for HPV infection.
Geraldine McQuillan, the lead author of the report and a senior infectious-disease epidemiologist at the CDC, told The Washington Post that “20 percent of [adults] are carrying the virus that can cause cancer.” She went on to say that the public needs to be made aware the seriousness of the situation. While cervical cancer rates are “relatively stable” other cancers related to HPV “have been increasing,” said Lois Ramondetta. Dr. Ramondetta is a professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. UPI reported that the CDC examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2011 to 2014.
CNN reported that there are nearly 80 million American people infected with “one of many types of HPV.” The CDC report stated that HPV was lowest among “non-Hispanic Asian adults” while oral HPV was “highest among non-Hispanic black adults. Researchers hope to bring HPV awareness to the general public. Healthcare specialists are encouraged to talk with their patients about the vaccine to hopefully, bring HPV down in the future. Since the recommendation in 2006 to administer the vaccine to girls, HPV dropped in young women.
McQuillan said that for adolescent girls, the HPV infection dropped “60 percent and in young women, it has dropped 34 percent.” At Ohio State University, Electra Paskett, a cancer control researcher, called the HPV vaccine “cancer prevention” and called it “woefully underused.”
By Cheryl Werber