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worth knowing

Did you know males are at an equal risk of HPV as females? If you did you're in the minority

Two thirds of people don’t realise that males and females are at an equal risk of contracting a HPV infection.

shutterstock_1131160979 Shutterstock / Ravipat Shutterstock / Ravipat / Ravipat

NEARLY TWO THIRDS of people in Ireland are unaware that men have an equal chance of contracting a HPV infection.

Per new research by MSD Ireland, 63% of people here are unaware that males and females have an equal risk of the human papillomavirus (HPV).

HPV is a very common virus affecting the vast majority of sexually active men and women at some stage in their lives.

Most of the virus’s more than 100 variants are harmless. However some infections can cause certain kinds of cancer, such as cervical or anal.

As many as 420 cases of such cancers were caused by HPV in men and women in Ireland between 2010 and 2014.

The lack of knowledge regarding the virus is more heightened among males – almost nine in ten Irish men are unaware they will most likely contract the virus at some stage in their lives.

The research aims to raise awareness that HPV is an equal problem for both sexes, not just women.

Currently the national HPV immunisation programme offers vaccination from the virus to all girls in first year of secondary school. Adults under 26 years of age are also entitled to the vaccination.

“HPV is responsible for a number of cancers in men and women, including anal cancer and cervical cancer. It is worrying to see such low levels of HPV awareness especially when it is possible to prevent certain types of HPV infection that could cause certain cancers,” said Professor Ray O’Sullivan, a consultant at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny.

HPV infection is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s and we know that HPV infection rates are rising rapidly among women and men in high income countries like Ireland.

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