Half of all men may be infected with human papillomavirus, or HPV, researchers in Tampa, Fla., said Monday.
Because HPV causes anal, penile, and head and neck cancers in men, in addition to cervical cancer in women, the discovery may bolster the argument that vaccinating boys against the virus is necessary, Reuters reports.
The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute studied infection rates among more than 1,100 men aged 18-70 in the U.S., Brazil, and Mexico. Fifty percent had HPV at the time the study began.
Over time, it was shown that men became infected with HPV at about the same rate as women, who are currently being urged to receive the vaccine Gardasil against the virus at an early age. However, researcher Anna Giuliano told Reuters that while women are able to naturally fight the virus, men are not as inherently able.
The full study was published in The Lancet Tuesday.