A new study shows that half of men in the US may be currently infected with HPV, also known as the human papillomavirus. The virus is the primary cause of cervical cancer, which is the second-most common cancer in women worldwide. And some strains of HPV have also been known to cause anal, penile, head and neck cancers in men as well. HPV is also the cause of genital warts in both women and men.
While there are more than 40 types of HPV that are transmissible via sexual contact, most men who get HPV never develop any symptoms or health problems. Although men can be screened and treated if they develop the types of HPV that are linked to genital warts, there are currently no tests available for men to detect whether they are infected with the types of HPV that can cause cancer.
There are, however, vaccines that are available for men and women to protect themselves against the virus. In October of last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the vaccine Gardasil to prevent genital warts caused by certain types of HPV in men and boys, ages nine to 26. The Centers for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends routine vaccination for girls ages 11 and 12.
Planned Parenthood offers the Gardasil shot at a reduced rate at most of their clinics in the state of Minnesota. Additionally, Planned Parenthood provides screening and treatment for other HPV diseases, for both men and women, through Title X funding.
Though many Republicans believe that they will be hurting Planned Parenthood by denying the organization Title X funding, the real victims will be those looking for access to health screenings. This most recent report only emphasizes the importance of Planned Parenthood and Title X in the health of millions of Americans.
--by Kyle, Web Correspondent, Planned Parenthood Advocate