Committing to an exclusive relationship may also give greater assurance of preventing the disease, according to the CDC.
During one study period between 2013 and 2014, approximately 4 out of 10 adults ages 18 to 59 were infected with genital HPV in the US, the CDC said. HPVs that infect the genital area can spread as sexually transmitted infections.
"These viruses affect men and women".
For people under 25, there is a vaccine that can defend against the cancer causing strains of HPV.
ONLY 75% of 15-year-old girls in Wide Bay have been fully vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, new figures show.
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Human papillomavirus, which is transferred through either vaginal, anal or oral sex, can cause genital warts and lead to a number of different cancers.
More than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in the US, 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.
There are certain strains of the virus such as HPV 16 and 18 which account for about 70 percent of HPV high risk cancer statistics. 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.
"HPV is associated with these cancers", said Schaffner. Despite infections being common, the CDC maintains that in most cases it does not cause disease.
Looking back a little further, the stats jump to more than 42 percent (between 2013 and 2014). At any given time, almost 80 million Americans are infected, and most people can expect to contract HPV at some point in their lives. Although 90 percent of HPV infections clear the body within two years, that's not always the case. Whites had a 21.6% rate while Hispanics had 21.7%.
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Roughly four percent of adults are infected with an oral, cancer causing strain of HPV.
"Meanwhile we have this newer entity, which is high risk HPV infection, and in contrast, the percentage of people that have cancer due to high risk HPV goes up each year", says Dr. Hartig.
The best defense against HPV is getting the HPV vaccine before being exposed to the virus.
But that's exactly why physicians should be recommending the HPV vaccine to kids at that age.
The CDC reports that HPV vaccination rates remain significantly lower than the goal of 80 percent. In teenage girls, HPV infection has dropped 60%, and in young women it has dropped 34%, she added. In boys 13 to 17, approximately 28 percent received all three doses and 50 percent received at least one dose.
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Lingering misconceptions and fears are among the reasons for the lower HPV vaccine uptake, said Electra Paskett, a cancer control researcher at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.