TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- A new international study finds that half of adult males in the United States and elsewhere may be infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmissible virus linked to cervical cancer and other tumors.
The finding could help public health experts determine the value of widespread HPV vaccination of males, the study authors say.
"The incidence of genital HPV infection in men was high and relatively constant across age groups in Brazil, Mexico and the U.S.A.," concluded Anna R. Giuliano, of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Fla., and colleagues. "The results from this study provide much needed data about the incidence and clearance of HPV infection in men."
The study, which was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and published in the March 1 online edition of The Lancet, also found that having multiple female or male sex partners greatly increased a man's risk of HPV infection and that, each year, about 6 percent of men are newly infected with HPV16, the virus that causes cervical cancer in women and also causes cancers in men.
In 2009, about 32,000 cases of cancers in American women and men were attributable to HPV infection, according to background information in the study. These included cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, oral cavity, anal canal, and head and neck.
The study included 1,159 men aged 18 to 70 (mean age 32) in the United States, Brazil and Mexico. None of the men had HIV and they had no history of cancer. They were assessed every six months for an average of two years.
The risk of cancer-causing HPV infection was 2.4 times higher for men who had had 50 or more female partners, compared to men with one or no partners. The risk was 2.6 times higher for men who had at least three male anal sex partners, compared to men with no recent partners.
Exerts note that, in most cases, H
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