Nearly half of US adults infected with genital HPV

"More than 80 percent of Americans will be infected with HPV in their lifetime, but in most cases, it never causes symptoms or illness - and certainly not cancer in most people", Einstein explains.

'People really need to realize that this is a serious concern'.

There are more than 150 HPV viruses.

News reports on the latest numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics.

About 23 percent of Americans between ages 18 and 59 have a version of the virus that puts them at risk of certain cancers, including prostate and cervical cancer.

That percentage jumped to more than 42 percent during the two-year period if any type of genital HPV - the most common form of the virus - was included, the CDC found.

"The next step is to increase awareness of the high prevalence of high-risk genital and oral HPV in our general USA population so individuals will realize that this is a serious problem and they will get their children vaccinated in early adolescence before they become sexually active", McQuillan said.

"Parents should check in with their child and ensure all three doses of the vaccine have been administered for best protection against HPV-related cancer and disease".

The new rules came after years of campaigns from cancer experts insisting an easier schedule would encourage more people to protect themselves from the sexually-transmitted infection. As the Washington Post notes, the prevalence of HPV was higher in men than women in both groups, in addition to being far higher among blacks than other ethnic and racial groups.

"The vaccine is targeted to very young kids because you have to catch them before they are sexually active", McQuillan explained.

In 2013 and 2014, 45 percent of all men aged up to 60 had some sort of HPV strain and 25 percent had one of the strains that can cause cancer.

Men are more likely than women to be infected with both the low-risk and the high-risk strains of the virus. The prevalence among non-Hispanic white adults was 4.2% and the occurrence among Hispanic adults was 3.4%.

More than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in the US, and more than 4,000 of them will die of it. HPV is also linked to cancers of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, and back of the throat, tongue and tonsils, in men and women.

"Collectively, these data demonstrate the significant and continued benefits of the HPV vaccination programme in Scotland, which has achieved a consistent and high uptake of around 90 per cent in 12 to 13-year-old girls".

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two HPV vaccines namely Cervarix and Gardasil. The agency has stated that even when the vaccination rates are augmenting, the rates among boys and girls are not as high as expected.

"After the introduction of the HPV vaccine in 2006, there has been a decrease in genital HPV in young adults - this is a vaccine against cancer", she said.

This work, funded by the Scottish Government, is part of public health work in Scotland looking at the effect of the vaccine on levels of cervical lesions and cancer-related cell abnormalities.