Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the name of a group of viruses that can infect the skin. It may be the most common sexually transmitted infection but it is also the least understood.
It only takes one time, one person, and you don’t even have to have actual sexual intercourse; just skin to skin contact, and you can get it.
The numbers are alarming. Most sexually active people will have genital HPV at some in their lives. Matter of fact, it affects 80% of all women by the age of 50.
How you get it
If you have ever had genital contact with other person, you can have genital HPV without knowing it because they are often no symptoms, and it goes away on it own without causing any serious health problems. You can also pass it to others without realizing it; even your spouse.
Lower your risks
- The surest way for you to prevent it is to never have sex
- If you decide to have sex, limit the number of partners you have.
- Using latex condoms the right way, may lower your chances of getting HPV, genital warts or cervical cancer. Bear in mind that HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom.
- You will not prevent HPV by washing your genital areas, urinating or douching after having sex.
Having low risk HPV can cause genital warts (in the vagina, penis, anus or thigh) which are usually painless and not a serious problem. If you don’t treat the warts, they may stay the same, go away or grow in size and number.
If you have high risk HPV, it can sometimes develop into cervical or anal cancer.
- Some kind of HPV can cause you to have cancer of the penis or anus. But, it is rare if you have a healthy immune system.
- Currently, there is no approved HPV tests for you. So, be vigilant and see your healthcare provider ASAP if you notice sores in your genitals.
- You should get regular Pap tests from age 21 to check for changes in your cervix. If changes are caught early, they can be treated.
- If you are aged 30 or over, you may also get an HPV test. This test can help your healthcare provider decide what other tests or treatments you should have.
- If an HPV infection is persistent past the age of 30, there is a greater risk of developing cervical cancer.
- The majority of women with an HPV infection will not develop cervical cancer, but regular screening is crucial.
- There is no cure for HPV, but there are treatments for the health problems for the health problems that some types of HPV can cause, like genital warts and cervical cancer.
- In most cases, the virus is harmless and most people have no symptoms. The body clears most HPV infections naturally