Study: HPV Infection Lasts Longer in Young Black Women

Human papillomavirus infection tends to lasts longer in college-aged black women than whites, possibly setting them up for a higher risk of cervical cancer, according to a new study.

The researchers also found that black women are 70 percent more likely to have an abnormal Pap test — the screening for cervical cancer — than their white counterparts. Human papillomavirus, or HPV, which is a sexually transmitted infection, can cause genital warts and is responsible for many cases of cervical cancer.

“African American women are more likely to have persistent high-risk HPV infection,” said study author Kim Creek, vice-chair and professor of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences at South Carolina College of Pharmacy, in Charleston.

Most HPV infections are transient. “If you are infected, your body recognizes it as a viral infection and usually clears the virus within one or two years,” he said. “It is those women who have difficulty clearing it that are at higher risk of cervical disease and cervical cancer.”

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