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New study claims that at least one in three men above 15 is infected with at least one type of genital papillomavirus

A recent study published in The Lancet Global Health journal reveals alarming statistics: at least one in three men aged 15 and above is infected with at least one type of genital human papillomavirus (HPV), and one in five contracts one or more high-risk HPV types.

The study emphasizes that men frequently contract genital HPV infections, underlining the need to involve them in efforts to control HPV infection and reduce the number of related diseases in both men and women.

HPV is a viral infection known to commonly cause skin or mucous membrane growths, such as warts. There are over 100 different varieties of HPV.

Meg Doherty, Director of WHO’s Global HIV, Hepatitis, and Sexually Transmitted Infections Programmes, commented on the findings, stating, “This global study on the prevalence of genital HPV infection among men confirms how widespread HPV infection is. HPV infection with high-risk HPV types can cause genital warts and oral, penile, and anal cancer in men.” She emphasized the importance of continuing efforts to prevent HPV infection and reduce HPV-related diseases in both genders.

The study, which included a meta-analysis and systematic review, assessed the prevalence of genital HPV infection in the general male population using studies published between 1995 and 2022.

Key findings from the study include a global pooled prevalence of 31 percent for HPV and 21 percent for high-risk HPV. HPV-16 was identified as the most prevalent HPV genotype (5 percent), followed by HPV-6 (4 percent).

The researchers observed that the prevalence of HPV was highest among young adults, peaking in the age group of 25 to 29 years and slightly declining or stabilizing thereafter. Pooled prevalence estimates were found to be consistent across various geographical regions, including Europe and Northern America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Australia and New Zealand (Oceania).

However, Eastern and South-Eastern Asia had prevalence estimates approximately half of those in other regions. The researchers pointed out that most HPV infections in both women and men are asymptomatic, but they can lead to mortality and long-term health complications.

The study highlighted that over 340,000 women die annually from cervical cancer, and HPV infections in men typically manifest as anogenital warts, which not only increase HPV transmission rates but also lead to significant morbidity.


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