Human Papillomavirus: Everything You Need to Know

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States.

According to the CDC there are currently more than 42 million Americans infected with some form of HPV and about 13 million Americans, including teenagers, are infected each year.

Some of the figures provided by the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are:

  • Public ignorance about the human papillomavirus is high.
  • It has been shown that there are high levels of HPV infection among women, with the highest levels among young women.
  • A recent study among college students indicated that an average of 14% become infected with genital HPV each year. Current infection levels in men of the same age are very similar.
  • According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 70% of American adults over the age of 18 have never heard of HPV.
  • In addition, 89% have never discussed the issue with their healthcare provider.
  • At least 75% of the population of reproductive age has been exposed to sexually transmitted HPV.
  • An estimated 15% of Americans ages 15 to 49 are infected.
  • Risk factors for infection include multiple lifelong sexual partners, a history of infection with other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), early age at first sexual intercourse, a weakened immune system, and the presence of HIV.

Who is affected by the Human Papillomavirus?

The human papillomavirus is usually transmitted by direct contact during sexual intercourse with someone who has the infection.

Despite their potential severity, the health consequences of HPV (and other STIs) are usually hidden and can occur years after infection. Therefore, many people do not know that they are infected or that they can transmit the virus to other people.

According to (CDC), in its most recent study published in December 2021, 46,143 new cases of cancers associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) are detected annually, including 25,719 among women and 20,424 among men.

Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-associated cancer among women, and oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) are the most common among men.

Other shocking statistics related to these diseases are:

  • Vietnamese women have the highest incidence of invasive cervical cancer in the United States.
  • Cervical cancer, which is associated with HPV infection, is now the ninth most common cancer among women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • In general, women have a higher incidence than men except at the oropharynx site.
  • White men and women have the highest incidence rates and Asian/Pacific Islander men and women have the lowest incidence rates compared to other racial groups.
  • Within the group of Hispanics, men are less likely to contract this type of disease: 6.9%, while women have a percentage just lower than the groups of whites and non-Hispanics but similar to those of the African American racial group.

Prevent cancer with the human papillomavirus vaccine

Many public health experts believe that a more targeted research and public health effort would have a greater impact.

This response involves encouraging greater sex education in schools and by health professionals regarding HPV and other STIs.

Also promote more regular Pap tests and use HPV DNA tests.

Scientists and health organizations worldwide measure the HPV vaccine with its safety and efficacy.

Recommending that all children receive two doses of HPV vaccine between 9 and 12 years of age.

Evidence on vaccine efficacy shows that infections with HPV, cervical precancers , have decreased by 88% among adolescent girls and 81% among young adult women.

The percentage of cervical precancers caused by HPV types has decreased by 40% since the vaccine is being used in the United States.

It is estimated that the HPV vaccine can prevent the development of more than 33,000 cases of these cancers.

Preventing cancer is better than treating it

Getting the HPV vaccine for your child now is better than treating an HPV cancer later in life.

Take advantage of any visit to the doctor so that the child receives the recommended doses, in addition to preventing this and other diseases by performing the annual sports medical and physical examinations.

The HPV vaccine provides safe, effective, and long-lasting protection.

With more than 135 million doses distributed in the United States, the HPV vaccine has a safety record backed by more than 15 years of monitoring and research.

Where can I get more information?

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