Friday, February 6, 2015
Prevent HPV Infection
Human papillomavirus is a DNA virus, a sexually transmitted virus that can infect you anytime when you have unprotected sex. It is more common than HIV or just about any other sexually transmitted infection. HPV is transmitted through sexual contact, vaginal or anal sex, oral sex, or non-penetrative sex like fondling and rubbing the genital areas. HPV has several types. It can go symptomless and it can heal on its own, however, it may lead to serious health problems like cancers. There is a link between HPV and cancers like cervical cancer, vaginal or penis cancers.
HPV is furtive. It may not cause any symptoms for several years. You might be infected and you do not know about it until you develop cancers. Probably HPV will heal without treatment, probably it will turn into something worse, there is no way to tell. This is why you need screening tests. Some types of HPV may lead to cervical cancer, which has no signs and symptoms for a long while. After a while, it has symptoms, however, by that time it might be very difficult to treat.
Prevent HPV: Get Vaccinated, Get Tested
Prevention is important. Young men and women should take screening tests seriously to prevent HPV-related conditions and cancers.
Condoms and physical barriers are helpful. However, keep in mind that condoms do not cover the entire genital area where warts and HPV can be present – not only they are there on the genitals but anywhere near the genitals.
Vaccines against HPV Infection
Vaccines can help you prevent all the trouble, whether you are a woman or a man. Young men and women should get vaccinated at an early age, from 12 to 26. Vaccines mean protection against the most common HPV types. HPV vaccines are safe. You have to receive three shots within six months. It would be best if young kids got vaccines at the age of 11 or 12, this is the age when the vaccines are most effective.
If you are a female and a United States citizen, you can have access to two types of vaccines, Cervarix and Gardasil. Gardasil will prevent most genital warts, cervical cancer, vaginal, vulvar and anal cancers, too. You should receive it when you are 11 or 12. You should receive it by the time you turn 26.
Cervical cancer screening can save your life. A Pap test can detect abnormal cells growing within the cervix. If they are removed at an early stage, no cancer will develop. HPV DNA testing is also effective, it can be a complementary testing to a Pap test. You should get screened, even if you got a vaccine against human papillomavirus. Vaccines can prevent HPV infection, but they do not prevent every type of cervical cancers. Cervical cancers do not have signs and symptoms until late stages. Get tested from age 21 in every 3 years.
For American men, there exists one vaccine, Gardasil. It also prevents genital warts and anal cancers. It would be most effective if you receive it at the age of 11 or 12. You can get the vaccines from the age 22 to 26.
If you are a gay or bisexual man or you are a man/woman with immune system issues (i.e. you have HIV), you should get the vaccines all the same.