Nearly half of US adults infected with genital HPV

"It's absolutely vital that all eligible young people receive the full course of the vaccine - taking preventive action against HPV is vital and could save a young person's life in years to come", Ms McMillan said.

Geraldine McQuillan, the lead author of the report, said that this problem is often left behind as people do not give the attention it deserves. Many physicians are also reluctant about discussing the need for the vaccine, and for many parents, the vaccine's cancer-prevention benefits were overshadowed by concerns about discussing sexual matters with such young kids. The gap between cases among men and women was significant: 11.5 percent of men had oral HPV, compared to 3.3 percent of women. On the other hand, Asians were the least affected ethnic group.

That percentage jumped to more than 42 percent during 2013 to 2014 if any type of genital HPV was included, the CDC found. Most never know they've been infected and have no symptoms.

On the other hand, non-Hispanic black adults (4.3%) had the highest prevalence of any and high-risk genital HPV. Two types of the virus, 16 and 18, are responsible for about 80 per cent of cervical... In most cases, HPV goes away on its own.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan said immunising girls and boys against HPV was crucial to help prevent a range of cancers, including cervical cancer.

"If effective, this approach can be a cheap, women-controlled way that can empower women to protect themselves from HPV and cervical cancer", says Einstein.

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While great progress has been made in creating HPV vaccines, current approaches to prevent infection have limitations.

Neck and head cancer are some of the implications of HPV, and some experts say that 70 percent of all head and neck cancers are caused by HPV, most likely spread through oral sex.

Dr. Lois Ramondetta, a professor of gynecologic oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, told NBC News a year ago: "There is an epidemic of HPV related cancers in men, specifically those of the tonsil and the back of the tongue". The agency has stated that even when the vaccination rates are augmenting, the rates among boys and girls are not as high as expected.

This work, funded by the Scottish Government, is part of public health work in Scotland looking at the effect of the vaccine on levels of cervical lesions and cancer-related cell abnormalities. Some people still think vaccination encourages youth to become promiscuous.

She explains that a possible solution is to introduce the vaccine to the population in a different way.

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.

  • Ismael Montgomery