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A reality-check-cashing new study has discovered that nearly half of all dudes in the U.S. have genital HPV infections. The study, published last week by JAMA Oncology, found that the "overall genital HPV infection prevalence" among 1,868 men previously polled by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) stands at an absolutely abysmal 45.2 percent.
According to BuzzFeed News, the study is the first population-based study of genital HPV infections in adult dudes in the States. The 2013-2014 data examined by researches also included personal info from participants including race, sexual history, vaccination rates, and education level.
Though an HPV vaccine exists, the study found that most men have not been vaccinated. In fact, just 10.7 percent of those eligible to receive the HPV vaccine had actually done so. Certain HPV subtypes, like those found in 25.1 percent of those with a genital HPV infection, can cause cancer. HPV infection is asymptomatic in most men—almost certainly the reason infection rates are so high.
"Our study indicates that male HPV vaccination may have a greater effect on HPV infection transmission and cancer prevention in men and women than previously estimated," study authors wrote in their conclusion. "Further studies may be warranted to evaluate the rationale regarding the current male vaccination age cutoff."
As F Cancer executive director Heather Kun told Teen Vogue last July, prevention for human papillomavirus—considered the most common sexually transmitted infection by the CDC—starts at an early age. "Parents believe, 'this is about sex, and my kid's not having sex,'" Kun said. "But at some point they will. This is the time to get them vaccinated. I think in that population, it is the sexual stigma that has been an issue."
For more on the CDC's recommended vaccination ages and follow-up procedures, please click here.