A Revolutionary Approach to Preventing Transmission of a Cancer-Causing Virus

A Revolutionary Approach to Preventing Transmission of a Cancer-Causing Virus

The report published by the CDC also addressed the oral HPV infections among adults.

Levels of the cancer-causing human papillomavirus in Scotland have plummeted 90 per cent in young women after a vaccination campaign that started in 2008.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. In nine out of ten HPV infections, the virus goes away on its own and doesn't cause health problems.

One in four men and one in five women ages 18 to 59 here in America have high-risk genital HPV, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

That percentage jumped to more than 42 percent during the two-year period if any type of genital HPV - the most common form of the virus - was included, the CDC found.

"We tend to overlook the fact that 20 percent of us are carrying the virus that can cause cancer", Geraldine McQuillan, lead author of the report and a senior infectious disease epidemiologist in the Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, told The Washington Post. Certain HPV types can cause genital warts, which are considered low-risk.

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Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person. 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. Two genotypes of the virus - 16 and 18 - are themselves responsible for around 80 per cent of cervical cancers in Scotland and 70 per cent around the world.

More than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in the USA, and more than 4,000 of them will die of it. HPV is also linked to cancers of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, and back of the throat, tongue and tonsils, in men and women. All girls and boys aged 11 or 12 should get the recommended three-dose series of HPV vaccine, the CDC advises.

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".

While vaccination rates have been increasing, they still lag for both boys and girls.

According to Dr Electra Paskett, a cancer control researcher at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, some think vaccination encourages youth to become promiscuous. For example, in Australia and the United Kingdom (including Scottland who presented the dramatic HPV rate drops), the vaccine was introduced as a cancer vaccine, which Paskett says, is what it really is. It's up to doctors to include the vaccine in the usual vaccine schedule, she said.

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