Half of men may have HPV infections: study

Published: March 1, 2011

(Reuters) – Half of men in the general population may be infected with human papillomavirus or HPV, the human wart virus that causes cervical and other cancers, strengthening the case for vaccinating boys against HPV, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

U.S. vaccine advisers have been weighing whether boys and young men should be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, as they already recommend for girls and young women, but some worry the vaccine is too costly to justify its use.

HPV infection is best known as the primary cause of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women worldwide. But various strains of HPV also cause anal, penile, head and neck cancers. Vaccinating men and boys would prevent some of these cancers.

Anna Giuliano of the H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, and colleagues studied infection rates among more than 1,100 men aged 18 to 70 in the United States, Brazil and Mexico to get a snapshot of the natural progression of HPV infection in men.

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