Signs of the cancer-causing human papilloma virus in women near or at menopause may be a reawakened dormant infection, suggesting a risk for women who came of age in the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s.
About 77 percent of the infections were detected in women who reported five or more sexual partners in their lifetime, according to a study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
These findings suggest that reactivation of the sexually transmitted virus may increase around age 50 and be responsible for more later-life infections than new ones, according to medical researchers.
This data raises a new concern for women now entering menopause, suggesting a significantly higher risk for HPV infections than those of the previous generation. The findings may mean that women need to continue routine screening past age 40.