What You Need To Know About Human Papillomavirus


Human papillomavirus is commonly known as HPV.  It can affect both men and women.  The results of human papillomavirus can range from minor to life-threatening.  The more you know about this virus, the better position you will be in to safeguard your health.

There are almost two hundred recognized viruses in this category.  Most do not cause any significant problems.  However, between thirty and forty strains of human papillomavirus can be transmitted from one person to another during sexual relations.  The virus itself can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.  There is also a smaller possibility of transmitting it by deep kissing.  These strains of HPV can result in genital warts, and even cancer.  Most cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus infections.  While genital warts are very contagious in both women and men, many women who develop cervical cancer die without early detection and prompt medical intervention.  Women who have Pap tests on a regular basis have the best chance of survival, as cell abnormalities can be detected while they are in a precancerous stage.  Adolescent girls who are already engaging in sexual activity should also have this test regularly.  Newer tests, designed to detect human papillomavirus, have been approved by the FDA in recent years.

There are currently vaccines to protect against HPV.  As Gardasil and Cervarix have only been available during the last few years, their longterm effects on health and safety have not been adequately verified.  In addition, these vaccines do not protect against all strains of the virus.  However, many people believe vaccinating youngsters prior to adolescence is a positive way to safeguard them against developing HPV.

There are a number of other ways of reducing the risk of HPV.  One method is to limit one’s number of sexual partners.  The more people one has sexual contact with, the greater the risk of contracting HPV.  Similar to other sexually transmitted diseases, there is no way of knowing if a prospective partner has the virus.    Discouraging early sexual activity is also beneficial.  A second method is to use condoms during sexual relations.  Unfortunately, this cannot provide full protection.  If a person has the virus, an infection may be present in skin that a condom does not cover.  A third method is the use of microbicides.  These lubricants can result in a lower risk of contracting the virus.

Currently, human papillomavirus is the most widespread sexually transmitted condition in America.  In many cases, a healthy immune system will resolve the infection without any serious complications.  This does not mean anyone can afford to not take it seriously.  There is no medical treatment for this virus, and there is no cure.  Anyone can have the virus without showing any obvious symptoms.  Getting a vaccine after developing HPV will not produce any results.  The person will still be at risk of the health problems associated with human papillomavirus.  As the numbers of people affected continues to rise, prevention is the only sure way to protect your health.

Leave a Reply