April 06, 2017
2 min read

High-risk HPV prevalent among US adults

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Roughly one in four men and one in five women in the United States have a high-risk form of genital HPV, according to CDC estimates.

The proportion of adults with any genital form of the virus exceeds 40%, researchers found.

“This report provides the latest estimates of HPV prevalence, examining both oral and genital sites, by sex and race and Hispanic group,” CDC epidemiologist Geraldine McQuillan, PhD, and colleagues wrote in a National Center for Health Statistics data brief. The data were drawn from the agency’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), in which officials gather information on the health status of Americans through interviews and physical examinations.

The report included estimates from the 2011 to 2014 NHANES of the proportion of people aged 18 to 69 years with oral HPV and from the 2013 to 2014 NHANES on genital HPV among those aged 18 to 59 years.

The estimates included any of the 37 HPV types, as well as any of the 14 types deemed high risk for cancer. The researchers compared HPV prevalence among male, female, Asian, Hispanic, white and black adults.

They found that 7.3% of adults altogether had some type of oral HPV. That included 11.5% of men and 3.3% of women. Just 2.9% of Asians had a type of oral HPV, compared with 9.7% of blacks, 7.3% of whites and 7% of Hispanics. A similar racial and ethnic pattern was seen among men, researchers said.

High-risk oral HPV was present in 4% of adults overall, including 6.8% of men and 1.2% of women. Results also showed that high-risk HPV affected 1.7% of Asians, 4.2% of whites 4.3% of blacks and 3.4% of Hispanics.

Overall, 42.5% of adults had some type of genital HPV, including 45.2% of men and 39.9% of women. Again, Asians had the lowest prevalence, with 23.8% being infected, compared with 40% of whites, 64.1% of blacks and 41.4% of Hispanics.

High-risk genital HPV was found in 22.7% of adults — 25.1% of men and 20.4% of women. Among Asians, 11.9% were infected, as were 21.6% of whites, 33.7% of blacks and 21.7% of Hispanics.

However, the true prevalence of HPV is probably higher, McQuillan and the other researchers cautioned.

“NHANES does not include populations that may be considered at higher risk for HPV, i.e., those institutionalized, incarcerated ... and homeless, among others,” they wrote.

“Therefore, these data provide conservative estimates of both oral and genital HPV among U.S. adults.” – by Joe Green


National Center for Health Statistics. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db280.pdf. Accessed April 4, 2017.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.