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    HPV infection in men: Prevalence and vaccination coverage

    Genital HPV infection is widespread among men of all ages, but vaccination coverage remains low



    Any sexually active person is at risk for HPV infection given the high prevalence of this infection. Traditionally, sexually transmitted infections have a disproportionate burden among adolescents and young adults.1 However, HPV is unique in that prevalence in men is high and widespread among all age groups. In addition, most of these HPV infections are silent, asymptomatic, and do not cause disease until later years with persistent infection that presents as cancer.

    Higher HPV prevalence among men suggests that there is a greater opportunity for increased vaccine effectiveness as a society, as the vaccine coverage increases with the benefit of herd immunity. HPV vaccination may have a profound impact on the prevention of HPV-attributable cancers in both men and women, as one serves as a silent host for the other in addition to being a direct cause of anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers. Furthermore, widespread HPV infection in all age groups of men questions the rationale regarding the current vaccination age cutoff, which warrants further evaluation. Only by significantly increasing vaccination coverage will progress be made in eradicating most HPV-associated cancers in the United States.


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