While many people live with HPV without even knowing it, and in many cases it goes away on its own without causing any health problems, some forms of the virus are linked to cancer.
In addition, the new version of Gardasil improved protection against HPV-related cancers in the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, rectum and oropharynx - the tongue and tonsil area at the back of the throat. "People really need to realize that this is a serious concern".
The National Center for Health Statistics of the CDC studied the prevalence of HPV among adults (ages 18-69) in the United States from 2011 to 2014. Some type of HPV can cause genital warts and are considered low risk with a small chance for causing cancer.
According to a CDC report, 42% of USA adults have some form of HPV.
"The next step is to increase awareness of the high prevalence of high-risk genital and oral HPV in our general United States population so individuals will realize that this is a serious problem and they will get their children vaccinated in early adolescence before they become sexually active", McQuillan said.
Of course not everybody with the cancer-causing strain will get cancer, but why spin the roulette wheel when you could just get a vaccine? "They're not getting the one vaccine that protects against diseases from which they're most likely to suffer and die", Offit said, noting that deaths from pertussis and meningococcal disease, for which adolescents are also vaccinated at that age, are minuscule compared with HPV-related cancers.
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Although HPV first came to the public's attention because of its link to cervical cancer, it is more prevalent in men than in women, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC noted that the prevalence of high-risk oral HPV was higher among men than women in all race and Hispanic groups, but the difference was not significant among non-Hispanic Asian adults.
The CDC strongly recommends vaccination for people between 11 and 12 years old to create resistance to the virus at the moment of performing any sexual activity or contact.
Last month, new guidelines from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices declared the vaccine would be administered in two doses instead of three. "The program is newer for boys, however, and we expect this rate to increase over time", she said. Some people still think vaccination encourages youth to become promiscuous.
The vaccine is estimated to prevent 5,000 cancer deaths annually, said Dr. Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics and director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Einstein, who is also assistant dean of the clinical research unit at New Jersey Medical School, has been an investigator on a number of HPV vaccine clinical trials and was on the guidelines writing group for the American Cancer Society and a consultant to the World Health Organization.