Two-thirds of healthy adults are infected with HPV

Researchers in a new study have concluded 69 percent of healthy American adults are infected with one or more of 109 strains of HPV.

The conclusion was researched through what is believed to be the largest and most detailed genetic analysis of its kind.

For the study, which took two years to complete, researchers analyzed data made publicly available from the National Institutes of Health.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. – so common, experts estimate nearly all men and women contract some strain of it during their lives.

“Researchers say that while most of the viral strains so far appear to be harmless and can remain dormant for years, their overwhelming presence suggests a delicate balancing act for HPV infection in the body, in which many viral strains keep each other in check, preventing other strains from spreading out of control,” according to a news release on the study.

Here are other key findings:

-109 of the 148 known HPV strains were detected in study participants.

-Most study participants had HPV infections in the skin (61 percent); then vagina (41 percent), mouth (30 percent), and gut (17 percent).

-Of the 103 men and women included in the study, only four had either of the two HPV types known to cause most cases of cervical cancer, some throat cancers and genital warts.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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