Brace yourselves, ladies: This is kinda shocking, and totally something you need to know. With STIs becoming harder and harder to treat, there’s been a huge push in recent years encouraging girls and women to get the HPV vaccine. As it turns out, there’s a good reason for that: A new study has now found that nearly half of men (!!!) in the US have genital HPV. Yikes!

woman getting vaccination

JAMA Oncology reports that in a study of 1,868 men in the US between the ages 18 and 59, 45.2 percent of the participants tested positive for genital HPV, while 25.1 percent of those same men had at least one subtype of HPV that is known to cause cancer. Holy. Crap.

A large cause of this startling number may be because, as Teen Vogue informed us, only 22 percent of men in the US have received the HPV vaccine.

man getting vaccination

According to the Centers for Disease Control, HPV (or the Human Papillomavirus) is currently the most prevalent STI, and while it may not cause noticeable symptoms and can go away on its own, some types can cause cancer, often of the throat, cervix, vulva, vagina, penis and anus.

Though the CDC now recommends that both boys and girls ages 11 and 12 get the vaccine for prevention, men can get a “catch up” shot up until the age of 21 and women can do the same until the age of 26. For those past that age already, safe sex practices, namely condoms, seem to be your best bet, although they aren’t 100 percent effective.

Time to roll up your sleeves and book that doc appointment, ladies AND gents!

Are you surprised by the fact that nearly half of American men have HPV? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(h/t Teen Vogue, photos via Ariel Skelley + asiseeit/Getty)