Human Papillomavirus (HPV) | What is HPV?

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

What is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?

HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus. It is a cluster of over 140 viruses which are closely related. It is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact. These include engaging in anal sex, vaginal sex and oral sex with an infected person. Any sexually active person is therefore at risk of getting Human Papillomavirus.

According to CDC, Human Papillomavirus is a widespread STI, and over 79 million young Americans are infected.

HPV and Cancer

HPV can lead to mouth cancer when oral sex is involved. Cancer of the rectum and penile HPV cancer may also occur due to HPV infection. Furthermore, HPV infection in women can lead to vaginal and cervical HPV cancers.

Is HPV treatable?

Just like flu, HPV is supposed to cure on its own. If it does not cure, it may lead to health complications. These include vaginal, vulva, anus, mouth and penile cancers.

However, there is a vaccine that can lower the risk of acquiring the virus. CDC recommends HPV vaccinations to boys and girls between the ages of eleven and twelve. This will definitely keep all HPV related health complications away.

For women aged 21 to 65, pap smear, also known as pap test is recommended.

Cervical pre-cancer is indeed treatable, and women who regularly go for cancer screening will for sure get treated. See http://www.cancer.org/ for more information.

Untreated genital warts, which occur due to HPV infection, cure without medication. They are however treatable, and will definitely heal faster when prescribed medication is used.

How to Avoid Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

For those who are sexually active, use of condoms can help in lowering the risks of acquiring HPV. Unfortunately, areas that are not covered by condoms may still end up being infected. This means that even though condoms are recommended, they may not fully protect you from HPV.

Vaccination of girls and boys between 11 and 12 years of age is secure and very successful.

How to know if you have Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

One can stay with HPV virus for several years without even knowing that they are infected. This is due to the fact that most people do not develop symptoms after acquiring the virus.

In some cases, genital warts may appear in both men and women. Unfortunately, most people only find out they have HPV after cancer is detected.

Tests to detect Human Papillomavirus have not yet been discovered. There are however HPV tests that are very reliable when it comes to cancer screening in women above 30 years of age.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

CDC growth chart

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