Most people are aware of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV or hepatitis, but HPV is often viewed as a more harmless infection. Though the symptoms of HPV may just be irritating to some, the infection can greatly increase cancer risks. Therefore, many doctors are concerned by the rising rates of HPV transmission. A new study finds that roughly half of all men might already be infected with HPV.
STD Experts Concerned by Realization That Half of All Men Have HPV
About 79 million people in the United States are infected with the human papilloma virus, making it the most common STI. However, many do not even realize that they have HPV, because it does not always cause noticeable symptoms. The main issue with the virus is that it results in a very high cancer risk. 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases are caused by strains of HPV, and it can also cause mouth, throat, penile, or anal cancer too.
A study published in the JAMA Oncology medical journal showed that HPV rates are even higher than suspected. Researchers tested about 2,000 men in a variety of demographics, and they found that over 45 percent of all the men between the ages of 18 to 59 have genital HPV. Most of the men infected with this virus were between the ages of 23 and 32, while the second highest demographic to be infected was those between the ages of 58 and 59.
Only 10 percent of the test subjects had the HPV vaccination, and many test subjects did not even know that they had the virus, because they had strains that do not cause noticeable warts or other issues. These test results are markedly different than previous studies on women, who are more likely to get the vaccine, and will therefore tend to have a decreased risk of getting the virus as they age.
This study shows that it is necessary for more men to get the vaccine that easily prevents the spread of the human papilloma virus.
CDC Realizes That More Men to Get Vaccinations
Many men do not realize that HPV can increase their cancer risks, and they do not realize that there are vaccinations for men. Researchers theorize that the focus on awareness campaigns and vaccinations for women have caused many men to mistakenly assume that it does not affect them as much as it affects women. Though the virus may not cause cervical cancer in men, over 9,000 men are diagnosed with an HPV related penile, anal, or oral cancer each year.
This study shows that encouraging men to get vaccinated by suggesting it will reduce the spread of the virus is not an effective method. If the current trend continues, not only will more men and women be infected with the human papilloma virus, but a great deal of men may die from preventable cancers.
Starting in 2011, the CDC began recommending that men get the HPV vaccination, but unfortunately, it seems that many are not following this advice. It may be necessary to increase awareness of the disease and start vaccination programs for men if we want to reduce the spread of this dangerous STI.
Greater HPV Awareness Needed
This study has some very concerning implications. It seems that more men than previously assumed have the virus, and many of these males can suffer from the adverse affects of the infection. The results of the study show that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the symptoms and dangers of HPV. Better diagnosis accuracy and higher vaccination rates may help to halt the spread of the virus before it becomes even more problematic.