Roughly half of men in the general population are infected with the human papillomavirus or HPV, the human wart virus that can cause various types of cancer. The study released on Monday made the case for vaccinating men against the virus even stronger, researchers said.
The H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida studied infection rates in 1,100 men from the ages 18 to 70 in the United States, Brazil and Mexico. At the time of enrollment in the study, about 50 percent of the participants were infected with the HPV virus. The rate at which the men contracted the virus was very similar to female infection rates, about 6 percent a year.
While the HPV virus is known to cause cervical cancer, the second most common type of cancer among women, it can also have adverse effects on men. The HPV virus can cause head, neck, anal and penile cancers in men.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women between the ages 11 and 26 receive vaccinations for the HPV virus, but there has been no similar recommendation for men and boys.