High Prevalence of Genital HPV Infections Found in Men

A new study published in the Lancet Global Health has revealed that nearly one in three men aged 15 and above globally are infected with at least one type of genital human papillomavirus (HPV).

The study also found that one in five men are infected with high-risk or oncogenic HPV types.

These findings highlight the prevalence of genital HPV infections in men and underscore the importance of including men in initiatives to control HPV infections and reduce HPV-related diseases in both men and women.

Most HPV infections typically do not cause symptoms and resolve on their own, but certain types can lead to warts or cancer. HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer in women, leading to over 340,000 cervical cancer-related deaths annually.

In men, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimated that over 69,400 cases of cancer in men in 2018 were caused by HPV. HPV-related cancers in men encompass penile, anal, oral, and throat cancers.

The study focused on men with no known HPV risk factors. Researchers analyzed data from surveys conducted between January 1995 and June 2022 in 35 countries from various regions worldwide.

While the global pooled prevalence of HPV was estimated at 31 percent, the rates were highest among young adults, peaking between the ages of 25 and 29.

The study’s authors emphasized that sexually active men, regardless of age, are a significant reservoir for genital HPV infections.

They recommend the inclusion of men in HPV prevention efforts. Currently, many countries primarily target women in their HPV prevention efforts, including vaccination campaigns.

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