The majority of American adults are unaware that the most common sexually transmitted disease, HPV or human papillomavirus, can lead to a variety of cancers.
"More than 70 percent do not know that HPV causes anal, penile and oral cancer," said Ashish Deshmukh, author of the new study and assistant professor at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston.
He described the large gap in public consciousness as shocking and suggested that this is one reason why the national HPV vaccination rates are so low.
For the study, Deshmukh and his colleagues analyzed the National Cancer Institute's data from 6,261
Two-thirds of the 18- to 26- Year-olds knew that HPV can cause cervical cancer, compared to just one third of men of the same age.
However, it has also been shown that HPV causes oral, anal and penile disease to cause cancer, a fa In the study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, 80 percent of men and 75 percent of women in the same age group were lost.
Overall, 70 percent of adults of all ages knew nothing about the relationship between HPV and other cancers.
The first HPV vaccine was recommended in 2006 for girls only to prevent cervical cancer. But since then, science has shown that even men are at risk for HPV-related cancers and diseases such as genital warts. Boys were included in the HPV vaccination recommendation plan only in 2011.
"Because of this time lag, there is this historical perception that HPV is a disease in women who only causes cervical cancer," Deshmukh told NBC News.
Currently, the CDC recommends that everyone under the age of 26 receive the HPV vaccine from the age of 9, long before exposure to the virus transmitted through sexual contact.
Children need two, six shots months apart; Adolescents and young adults over the age of 15 require three doses. Unvaccinated people up to the age of 45 may also receive the shots because of their personal HPV risk.
Nationally, HPV vaccination rates fluctuate just under 50 percent, with a notable lag in boys' coverage.
Only about 44 percent of boys receive the vaccine, compared to 53 percent of girls, according to the CDC.
The researchers hypothesize that if the knowledge gap were reduced, more parents would have their children vaccinated.
The new study showed that more than half of adults between the ages of 27 and 45 were unaware of the association between HPV and penile, oral and anal cancer) parents who opted for an HPV vaccine for their decision Children are responsible, "wrote Kalyani Sonawane, assistant professor at the School of Public Health, University of Texas, in a press release.
Benefit of HPV vaccine: herd immunity, the researchers found that young men who do not receive the vaccinations can be protected from HPV-related cancers when vaccinating girls and young women 19659019] Erika Edwards