During a recent two-year period, approximately 23 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 59 suffered from a type of genital human papillomavirus or HPV that put them under the risk of some cancers. The situation was more serious for some demographics than others.
The CDC report documenting this issue was published April 4, stating that the percentage jumped to more than 42 percent during 2013 to 2014 if the data included any type of the sexually transmitted infection.
HPV And Cervical Cancer
The CDC report examined data from 2011 to 2014, from the CDC-run National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, whose purpose is to uncover the health and nutritional status of people of all ages. During the study period from 2013 to 2014, approximately four in 10 people aged 18 to 59 were infected with any kind of HPV.
In both groups, the prevalence was higher among men than women. Additionally, the race-based analysis suggests that non-Hispanic black people are more exposed when it comes to getting this disease, while non-Hispanic Asian adults had the lower rates. There were no significant differences by race among Hispanic women and the rest of the population.
"Overall, prevalence of any and high-risk oral HPV was lowest among non-Hispanic Asian adults; any oral HPV was highest among non-Hispanic black adults. Prevalence of any and high-risk oral HPV was higher in men than women except for high-risk HPV among Asian adults," noted the report.
The virus itself cannot be treated at the moment, but some HPV infections resolve on their own after a few years. At the same time, HPV can cause a series of health issues, which modern medicine can treat if the diseases are discovered on time, such as cervical cancer or genital warts.
"What we know is that cervical cancer rates have remained relatively stable, but that being said, HPV-related cancer rates have been increasing," noted Lois Ramondetta, a professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Cervical cancer rates have remained stable. However, the number of cervical cancer cases caused by HPV has increased over the past years. Throat, anal, vaginal, tonsil and penile cancers have also been linked to HPV.
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 70 percent of cervical cancers are associated with HPV.
"During 2013-2014, prevalence of any and high-risk genital HPV for adults aged 18-59 was 45.2% and 25.1% in men and 39.9% and 20.4% in women, respectively," also noted the report.
HPV Vaccination, An Effective Solution
Since approximately one in five people had some type of high-risk genital HPV, the likelihood of developing cancer is increased among this population.
While there is no available treatment for HPV, the CDC recommends vaccination as a means of prevention, especially among people aged 11 to 12.
The logic behind this very early age is that children should get the vaccine before their first sexual intercourse for better protection against the infection.
The report didn't examine the HPV vaccination rates. However, for better prevention in the future, parents are strongly encouraged to vaccinate their children.