|The human papillomavirus (HPV) gets around.
Nearly half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 59 are infected with this sexually transmitted virus, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics.
The good news: More than 90% of HPV infections are cleared by the body within 2 years. The immune system may be just part of this action.
The very bad news is that if they linger, the nasty types (HPV-16 and 18) are responsible for most of the 30,000 new cases of cancer (cervix, vagina, penis, anus and throat) each year. New vaccines can prevent the infection if young people are inoculated early enough.
Prevalence is strikingly different based on race:
Other risk factors
Probiotics may help clear the HPV
A thorough review of that possibility appeared recently in Microbiome titled: The vaginal microbiota, human papillomavirus infection and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: what do we know and where are we going next? Author Anita Mitra of Imperial College in London and her colleagues wrote:
Microbes may be involved via various mechanisms including:
Role for synbiotics
Several studies explored a role for synbiotics. One such study looked at 54 women with an HPV+low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion.
One group received a daily probiotic drink for 6 weeks while control group received none.