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Study: 1 out of every 3 men are infected with HPV globally

While the majority of HPV infections in both men and women are asymptomatic, they can result in long-term harm and even death.
Study: 1 out of every 3 men are infected with HPV globally
Posted at 3:18 PM, Sep 06, 2023

A new study found that 1 in 3 men aged 15 and older carry at least one type of HPV, and 1 in 5 have high-risk cancer-causing HPV types.

According to a study published in The Lancet Global Health, globally, about 31% of men had any type of HPV, with 21% having high-risk HPV. HPV was most common among young adults, peaking between ages 25 and 29, and stabilizing or slightly decreasing in older populations.

"These estimates emphasize the importance of incorporating men in comprehensive HPV prevention strategies to reduce HPV-related morbidity and mortality in men and ultimately achieve elimination of cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases," scientists wrote in the study.

SEE MORE: Why are sexually transmitted infections on the rise?

The World Health Organization says that while the majority of HPV infections in both men and women are asymptomatic, they can result in long-term harm and even death, as over 340,000 women die annually from cervical cancer caused by HPV.

HPV infections are also connected to penile, anal, and oropharyngeal cancers, often associated with HPV type 16, which the study found to be the most prevalent HPV genotype.

About 69,400 cases of cancer in men were caused by HPV in 2018, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

"This global study on the prevalence of genital HPV infection among men confirms how widespread HPV infection is," said the WHO’s Dr. Meg Doherty.

Overall, HPV is believed to cause over 90% of anal and cervical cancers, around 70% of vaginal and vulvar cancers, and more than 60% of penile cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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