New research shows that women who tested positive for HPV DNA were 2.3 times as likely as those without the virus to have heart disease
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. New research suggests it may also raise women's risk of contracting heart disease.
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Women who tested positive for HPV DNA were between two and three times as likely as uninfected women to suffer a heart attack or stroke. The study does not show that the infection caused heart disease. It does suggest that the two conditions are linked.
This raises the possibility that the HPV vaccine (there are two) could help prevent heart disease and suggests that doctors should monitor patients with known HPV infections for indications of developing heart disease.
Scientists estimate that half of sexually active men and women have been infected with HPV and that 80 percent of women have had it by age 50. But, in most people, the body's immune system successfully fights off the virus and it causes no health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 70 percent of new HPV infections go away within one year, and 91 percent are gone within two years.