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Men face a lifelong risk of acquiring the human papillomavirus, in contrast to women, who seem to be at less risk for HPV as they age, according to a new study in the British journal the Lancet, which suggested that vaccination for older men “might be warranted.”

Understanding this apparent gender difference is important because HPV is “readily transmitted from men to women, and greatly affects the risk of disease in women,” said epidemiologist Anna R. Giuliano and her colleagues.

The new study tracked 1,159 men, aged 18 to 70, in cities in Brazil, Mexico and southern Florida for two to three years. The sexually transmitted HPV can cause genital warts and has been linked to certain kinds of cancer.

The researchers found that half of the men acquired at least one HPV infection during the study, and every year about 6 percent of the subjects acquired a new infection of HPV-16, the strain most associated with development of cancer. It typically took between seven and 12 months to clear a case of HPV.

In 2009, HPV caused an estimated 32,000 cases of cancer, including cervical cancer.


Navy defends naming warship for Murtha

The Navy says it is forging ahead with its decision to name a warship for the late Rep. John P. Murtha, despite protests the decorated Vietnam War veteran was disloyal in his 2006 accusation that Marines had murdered Iraqi civilians.

Three Facebook sites opposing the Navy’s April 2010 decision bristle with thousands of angry postings. The Navy website with the announcement drew critical comments. The Washington Times voiced its outrage in an editorial titled “Sink the Murtha.”

But the Navy says it is standing firm.

A spokeswoman for Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said he is sticking with his decision to name a warship for the Pennsylvania Democrat.

Murtha, a retired Marine Reserves colonel and powerful former chairman of a House defense appropriations panel, died in February 2010 at age 77.


Republicans praise Fannie-Freddie plan

The Obama administration’s plan to gradually dissolve ailing housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to shrink the government’s role in the mortgage market drew praise from House Republicans on Tuesday. The Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee called the proposal a good starting point for bipartisan negotiations over a housing overhaul.

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