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WARNING: Almost Half of Men in the US have Genital HPV Infections

Jan 20, 2017 05:30 AM EST

A new study revealed that almost half of men in the United States have genital infections caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus or HPV.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, showed that 45 percent of men in the U.S. under the age of 60 have genital HPV infections, which is about 35 million men.

"The study just underscores that you need to vaccinate boys as well as girls, " said Debbie Saslow, an HPV specialist at the American Cancer Society and was not involved in the study, in a report from Fox News.

For the study, the researchers analyzed the data of 1,868 men from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2013-2014. The samples used in the study were self-collected from penile swabs for HPV genotyping testing.

Out of the more than 1,800 participants, a total of 45.2 tested positive for genital HPV infection. HPV infections are relatively common and can be experienced by most adults at some points of their lives. Most HPV infections cause no symptoms and will disappear without treatments, while more harmful strains can cause genital warts. On the other hand, high-risk HPV strains could lead to the development of cancer in upper throat and mouth, cervical cancer for women and other types of cancers.

About one in four participants in the study have the high-risk strain of HOV infections. Only 10.7 percent of the participants were protected by the HPV vaccine. The prevalence of vaccination differs across different age groups, with the prevalence increasing and remaining constant at older age groups. The lowest prevalence was 28.9 percent among men 18 to 22 years old, followed by 46.5 percent in the 23 7 age group.

Due to the nature of study, which was conducted using data from one specific time, the researchers were not able to explain why older males have higher rates of HPV infections. Additionally, the researchers also can't establish the effect of HPV vaccine on the risk of infection among different age groups.

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