Our generation came of age in a time of sexual experimentation. But the legacy of those years of "sex, drugs and rock 'n roll" may be an increased risk of certain diseases as we hit midlife.
A new study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases says that the cancer-causing human papilloma virus (HPV) in women around the age of menopause may be the reawakening of a dormant infection. In the study, about 77 percent of the infections were in women who reported have at least five sexual partners in their lifetimes.
The study suggests that immunity may weaken with age so women at menopausal age (around 50) may need to continue screening for HPV, which is found in 25 percent of teenage girls and half of women 20 to 24, according to another study.
Researchers have linked the virus to cancers of the head and neck, cervical, vaginal, penile and anal cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S.