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Human papillomavirus (HPV) in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States. There are over 150 different types of HPV, but only a small number are spread sexually and cause health problems. Most HPV infections are harmless and go away with time, but others can cause genital warts and cancer. Genital HPV infections are spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex and can infect the vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum, anus, penis, scrotum, mouth, and throat. In most cases, those infected with HPV show no symptoms of the infection and do not even know they are infected. As of 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that around 42.5 million people in the United States were living with HPV.

HPV and cancer

Although HPV is usually harmless, it can cause certain cancers. From 2013 to 2017, it was estimated that HPV caused around 11,000 cases of cervix cancer and 11,800 cases of oropharynx cancer among males. In relation to the total number of cases of such cancers, HPV was estimated to have caused 91 percent of cervix cancers during this period and 72 percent of oropharynx cancers among men. In general, around 83 percent of all HPV-associated cancers among women were probably caused by HPV, while 74 percent of all HPV-associated cancers among men were probably caused by HPV.

The HPV vaccination

Although there is no cure for HPV, there is a vaccine. The CDC recommends two doses of the HPV vaccine for all 11- to 12-year-olds to protect against HPV-associated cancers. As of 2019, around 72 percent of adolescents in the U.S. had received one or more doses of the HPV vaccine. Female adolescents are slightly more likely to have received one or more doses of the HPV vaccine than male adolescents, with around 73 percent of females receiving the vaccine compared to 70 percent of males. In addition to the vaccine, the use of condoms is also recommended to help prevent the spread of HPV.

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