4 in 10 US Adults Under 60 Carry HPV

For the report, researchers analyzed information from a nationally representative sample of Americans ages 18 to 59 who took part in a health survey from 2013 to 2014.

Human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus responsible for causing genital warts and cervical cancer, is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the U.S.

There is no treatment for the virus itself - some types of cases resolve on their own after a few years - but there are treatments for health issues that HPV can cause, including genital warts and cervical cancer.

"We also know that HPV 16 and 18 can cause a number of other cancers, including vulvovaginal, anal and a subset of head and neck cancers".

Symptoms can arise years after infection. Among those cases, close to 23% of adults have the high-risk form of the STI that, if it doesn't go away, can lead to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and throat.

Overall, about 23 percent of the participants were infected with a high-risk strain of genital HPV, the report found.

In both groups, prevalence was higher in men than in women, and it was sharply higher among blacks compared to other 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.

"The next step is to increase awareness of the high prevalence of high-risk genital and oral HPV in our general U.S. population so individuals will realize that this is a serious problem and they will get their children vaccinated in early adolescence before they become sexually active", McQuillan said.

The CDC recommends HPV vaccinations for youth ages 11 to 12 so that they become protected before potential exposure to the virus through sexual contact.

Last month, new guidelines from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices declared the vaccine would be administered in two doses instead of three. The agency has stated that even when the vaccination rates are augmenting, the rates among boys and girls are not as high as expected.

Lingering misconceptions and fears are among the reasons for the lower HPV vaccine uptake, said Electra Paskett, a cancer control researcher at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. The HPV vaccine was first recommended for adolescent girls in the United States in 2006, and since then, the prevalence of the cancer-causing virus dropped among young women, a 2016 study found. It is a cancer vaccine, ' Paskett told The Washington Post.

Dr Pollock said: "The very high uptake of the HPV vaccine is strongly associated with these massive reductions in high-risk HPV types that are known to cause approximately 90% of cervical cancer in Scottish women".

The new CDC report also addressed oral HPV infections, the second most common form. Between the year 2011 and 2014, the prevalence of this type of virus was 7 percent in citizens aged 18 to 69.

  • Arturo Norris