Let’s test your knowledge from the get go. Do you know what HPV stands for? No, not herpes – that’s HSV! If you are scratching your head, you are not alone. Most people don't have any idea either!
HPV or human papillomavirus – aren’t you glad the acronym exists – is a type of sexually transmitted infections. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) it is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United Sates! If your jaw dropped – mine did too.
THERE IS MORE THAN ONE HPV?
Shocking as it is, HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses! Each HPV virus in this large group is further broken down into specific type – under which it is grouped and numbered. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancer.
HOW DOES ONE GET HPV?
Having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus can lead to contracting HPV. If you are sexually active, even with only one person, you can still be at risk for HPV. Symptoms develop years after sexual contact – making it hard to know when you first became infected.
HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. Note: HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms – making it difficult to detect.
Consider the following staggering statistics from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV.
- About 14 million people become newly infected each year.
- About 360,000 people in the United States get genital warts each year.
- More than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer each year.
IF YOU ARE FREAKING OUT – TAKE A DEEP BREATH! – THERE ARE VACCINES THAT CAN STOP THESE HEALTH PROBLEMS FROM HAPPENING!
Firstly, lastly, and most importantly - one must always thrive to practice safe sex! Having said that, in most cases HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems.
But when HPV doesn’t go away – that’s when you need that paper back for a potential panic attack – and a visit to a doctor’s office!
HOW TO AVOID HPV AND THE HEALTH PROBLEMS IT CAN CAUSE?
Get vaccinated! Yup! HPV vaccines are safe and effective. They can protect males and females against diseases such as cancer. Keep in mind, the vaccine is given to people in particular group – to learn more – ask your doctor.
Get screened for cervical cancer! If you are age 21 to 65, you should be routinely getting screened! It’s that simple.
Get condoms AND use them! For more info read my latest post on “Quick Guide To Choosing a Condom.”
READ MORE INFO!
Note: this post is not all-inclusive! I encourage everyone to be fully informed! For more information on HPV:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet. http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm