Human Papillomavirus also known as HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infection. It is a viral infection and is transmitted through skin to skin contact either sexually or any other means of genital contact. Studies have it that more than 80 % of people that are sexually active will contact HPV at least once in their lifetime.
Notwithstanding this fact, a lot of people have vague knowledge of HPV, its symptoms, treatment and how it can be prevented. Thus, we will be bringing to the limelight everything you need to know about HPV in this article to help you protect yourself and your partner.
What is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?
HPV can be said to be a group of related viral infections. The name Papillomavirus is gotten from the word ‘papilloma’ meaning warts
There are about 200 varieties of HPV among which about 40 varieties are sexually transmitted. Studies have it that HPV is among the most common sexually transmitted disease that some people will have it and might never know they are infected. Some of the varieties known as low-risk varieties clear up without any medication.
Some other varieties could lead to wart while some high-risk varieties could be persistent and result to cancer, hence the need for early diagnosis and treatment of HPV.
These warts caused by HPV can appear in any part of the body especially around the mouth, anus and genitals
Symptoms of HPV
People with HPV usually do not show the symptoms. There is a possibility of one having HPV and the infection will go away without the person’s knowledge especially if it is the low risk type of HPV. However, these people can transmit this disease to others.
The best way to ascertain te presence of HPV is to undergo HPV DNA TEST.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent the occurrence of HPV. Females between the ages of 9 to 6 can takes this vaccine but it is advised that the vaccine is taken before one becomes sexually active because the vaccine will only work when one is not infected already with this virus.
The male folk are not left out; they can also be infected with this virus and as such need to be vaccinated also.
Boys within the ages of 10 or 12 down to 21 years can take the vaccine but that must be before they get exposed to HPV
The most important of the vaccine is the one that prevents the risk of the strains of HPV that could lead to cervical cancer or warts which are strains 16 and 18. Some of such vaccines include: Gardasil, Gardasil 9 and Cervarix. These vaccines provide strong protection against new HPV infection but not the ones that have been established.
Treatment and Prevention of HPV
The best preventive measure for HPV is to take vaccine as prescribed by the doctor and abstinence from sexual related activities.
Other ways include:
- Stayin in a monogamous relationship
- Screening to rule out te possibility of Cervical cancer and HPV
- The use of condom however does not rule out totally te possibility of transmitting HPV, it however, lowers the risk of infection and also helps to prevent cervical cancer.
Medically there is no cure for HPV, however, the warts and genital warts caused by HPV can be removed either by Cryosurgery or Loop Electrosurgical Excision procedure.
Also, it is important to keep the immune system healthy to help in the treatment and prevention of HPV.
Before we talk about the cervical cancer, let us briefly explain what the cervix is.
The cervix is a part of woman reproductive system. It is located in the narrow lower portion of the uterus which opens to the vagina. Hence, cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix.
Cervical cancer is one of the consequences of HPV if not properly treated. It is caused by high-risk HPV which are strain 16 and 18. Studies have it that most cervical cancers are caused by HPV and as such it does not show any sign until it becomes advanced and becomes difficult to treat. This is why it is advised that women go for regular screening for cervical cancer to help cancel any risk of cervical cancer.
The best preventive measure for cervical cancer is to take vaccination against HPV. Women can go for Pap test to rule out the possibility of cervical cancer or to treat it early enough if there is any risk of cervical cancer. These abnormal cells that lead to cervical cancer will show in the pap or smear test and they will be treated early enough before they advance to cancer.
To sum it up, with the recent increase in the outburst of cancer, one need to be more careful to avoid the risk of contracting HPV, going for regular screening and sticking to the preventive measures discussed in this article.