How Many U.S. Adults Have Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) (Mamiverse)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) (Mamiverse)

In answer to the headline, quite a few. In fact, the number might be higher than you think.

The answer: Almost 50% of U.S. adults have human papillomavirus (HPV).

In case you’re blissfully unaware, HPV is “the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).” The virus is most commonly transmitted during vaginal and anal sex. In worst cases, HPV can morph into genital warts and cause cancer.

A report published by the National Center for Health Statistics revealed that 42%+ of U.S. adults ages 18-59 had genital HPV. Certain strains of the virus affected 25%+ of adult men and 20%+ of adult women. These strains caused 31K cases of cancer per year.

The report also found that 7%+ of U.S. adults had oral HPV, and 4% had HPV strains associated with mouth and throat cancers.

Rates of HPV broke down along demographic lines:

The highest rate, 33.7 percent, was found among non-Hispanic blacks; the lowest, 11.9 percent, among Asians. The prevalence of genital HPV infection was 21.6 percent among whites and 21.7 percent among Hispanics.

The study was the first of its kind to examine HPV in adults.

This study really drives home the need for HPV vaccination. Yet despite a push for getting adolescents vaccinated, the HPV vaccination rate remains stubbornly low: “Only 30-40% of teens who should be getting immunized receive the three-dose shot, and only 10% of men do.”

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California Will Vote to Require Condoms on Porn Shoots

Condoms (StyleCaster)

Condoms (StyleCaster)

This year, California residents will head to the polls, and be asked to vote on something unique to the Golden State: what happens on a porn shoot.

Proposition 60, a.k.a. the Condoms in Pornographic Films Initiative, proposes that adult performers wear condoms during scenes where they “actually engage in vaginal or anal penetration by a penis.” (Side note: can we just appreciate that this language made it into a ballot measure?) Aside from that essential fact, the measure requires producers of pornographic films to pay for medical vaccinations and testing related to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and to obtain the state health license.

This measure would cover the San Fernando Valley, where the majority of the porn industry’s films are shot. The measure is not without precedent: In 2012, 56% of voters approved a similar measure, called Measure B, that covered Los Angeles County.

A recent University of Southern California Dornsife/LA Times poll showed that 55% of respondents would support the measure if they had to vote that day. Over 1K people were surveyed.

But Prop 60 also has the potential to harm one of California’s booming industries. Right now, perfumers get tested regularly for STDs, and shooting shuts down if an outbreak occurs. It’s pretty self-governed. But passing the measure might open up liability for independent producers and private companies that distribute porn films.

One reason behind opposing Prop 60 hinges on the fact that it could drive the business elsewhere, to a place that has less stringent (or no) regulations. This concern also has precedent in data: In 2012, the year Measure B passed in Los Angeles, FilmLA reported that there were 480 permits pulled for shoots involving “nonsimulated sex.” In 2013, that number plummeted drastically to 40 permits, and has been dropping year-over-year since. Implementing Prop 60 would also cost the state around $1M to “license and regulate film production, and an additional several million dollars in lost taxes if the industry flees California.”

As you can see, there are many aspects to consider whether you’re for or against Prop. 60. Californians, make sure you do your research before you vote!

 

 

Gonorrhea Will Become Untreatable Soon

Cosmo Kramer, 'Seinfeld' (Pinterest)

Cosmo Kramer, ‘Seinfeld’ (Pinterest)

Here’s some downer news to start your day: Sexually-transmitted disease (STD) gonorrhea has become resistant to certain antibiotics.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new treatment guidelines for the STD. Gonorrhea isn’t the only STD that’s become drug-resistant; strains of chlamydia and syphilis have also begun resisting treatment.

The common STD most affects women ages 20-24, with 820K new cases throughout all demographics cropping up per year. Worldwide, 78M people contract gonorrhea each year.

Gonorrhea is becoming drug-resistant at the same time that STD rates are rising. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) reported that rates of gonorrhea rose 5%+, which was the first increase in the U.S. in eight years.

The STD now cannot be treated with penicillin and doxycycline, among other drugs. The WHO estimates that completely new drugs will be needed for treatment within the next five years.

The HPV Vaccine Reduces the STD in Teen Girls by 64%

HPV vaccine (The Guardian UK)

HPV vaccine (The Guardian UK)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI), and it’s estimated that most sexually active adults will get it at some point in their lives.

Fortunately, there’s a way to prevent the spread with the HPV vaccine. The vaccine has been around for ten years, so it’s a great time to amass some longitudinal data.

Just how effective is the HPV vaccine?

Earlier this year, “Pediatrics” released a study examining just that. Researchers looked at the HPV vaccine in teenage girls ages 14-19, and women ages 20-24. Effectiveness in the latter category resulted in a 34% decrease of the virus. That’s impressive, right? Effectiveness for teenage girls hovers around a 64% decrease. This thing is mad effective.

Obviously, the data shows that it’s best to get the HPV vaccine early in life. But unfortunately, the vaccine isn’t as widely known or used as it should be. Right now, only around 40% of teenage girls and 20% of teenage boys get the vaccine. (Yes, the vaccine is recommended for boys too.)

Getting the vaccine has ramifications beyond one’s teenage years: The virus can cause health issues such as genital warts and cancers affecting the genital areas. The HPV virus is particularly responsible for cervical cancer, which affects around 11K+ women a year.

Hopefully this data will persuade others to make getting the vaccine a top priority.