The Human papillomavirus (HPV) is more common than one would think, consisting of over 200 related viruses, with each being given a unique number, which is referred to as HPV type. Low-risk HPVs can cause skin warts, but do not cause cancer, while high-risk HPVs can cause cancer, including HPV types 16 and 18.
Researchers examined data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The findings showed that the prevalence of genital HPV infections between 2013 and 2014 was 42.5 percent among adults between the ages 18 and 59. African-American adults had the highest rates of infections, while Asians had the lowest. Males had higher rates of both genital and oral HPV than females.
Nearly 23 percent of adults had high-risk strains of genital HPV, which indicates an increased risk for developing cancer.
In already published research reports, the HPV vaccine aids in lowering infection rates. Government health officials began urging use of the HPV vaccine in girls, as early as 2006, but in 2009, all teens were included in the health campaign. The vaccine can protect teens, boys and girls, against cancers that are caused by the human papillomavirus infection.
Six years after the initial health campaign was initiated, infection rates have dropped among teens by 64 percent.
There are over 200 HPV-related viruses and over 40 of those can easily spread through direct sexual contact through anal, oral and vaginal sex. The other HPV types lead to non-genital warts that are not spread through sexual contact. The HPV vaccine contains four of the most common strains, including HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18.
Even though HPV health campaigns are ongoing, only 30 to 40 percent of teens are getting immunized.