How Common Is HPV?

Some experts say that nearly all sexually active people may contract human papillomavirus (HPV) within months to a few years of becoming sexually active ...

HEALTHLINE – HPV is a group of viruses that can cause skin and mucous membrane infections. More than 200 strains exist, some causing noncancerous skin warts and others posing a higher risk of severe health conditions.

HPV is quite common. Authors of a 2021 study estimated that in 2018, 40% of the overall population in the United States was affected by HPV. The frequency of HPV was 41.8% in males and slightly lower at 38.4% in females.

For disease-associated HPV types, those known to cause anogenital warts and cancers like cervical cancer, the frequency was 24.2% in males and 19.9% in females.

Each year in the U.S., HPV may cause about 37,000 new cancer cases.

Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-related cancer in females, while oropharyngeal (throat) cancers are most common in males.

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Who’s most at risk of developing HPV?

Your immune system can usually manage various HPV infections. Many clear up within 1 or 2 years without causing cancer.

However, persistent high risk HPV infections can lead to cell changes that, left untreated, may progress to precancerous and cancerous conditions.

The following factors can increase the risk of HPV:

  • Sex without a barrier method: Sexual acts involving genital contact, such as vaginal, anal, or oral sex, can transmit HPV. Another way to transmit HPV includes sharing sex toys without washing or using barriers.
  • Lack of vaccination: Not getting vaccinated against HPV can increase the risk of infection with the virus.
  • Weak immune system: People with weakened immune systems may be more likely to get HPV and other infections …
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