You go to your annual health screening thinking nothing of it until the doctor calls you a couple of days later asking you to drop in to discuss of your test results. Of course your stomach drops because you would never have heard from them unless something was wrong. Could it be HIV, is it cancer? This is something that you rush to fund out only to be told when you are able to meet with your gynecologist that you have HPV. Of course at first it is a sigh of relief immediately followed by confusion and concern.
What is HPV?
HPV is known as the Human Papillomavirus. There are somewhere around 40 different subtypes of the Human Papillomavirus, some leading to cancer while others simply cause warts. It really depends upon the type of virus you have as to the outcome you can expect.
What many do not know is that this is a virus that can be transmitted skin to skin. Any type of sex whether it is anal, oral or old fashioned is a gateway for transmition of the virus. Even virgins can get the HPV virus when coming in contact with the skin or saliva of the infected individual, so fingers and mouths near your privates are just as infectious as all out sex.
This is a big deal because HPV can eventually lead to cancer of the cervix, the mouth, vagina or the penis. Cervical cancer is among the world’s most common cancers, and it is deadly. There are not always symptoms, hence the title “the silent killer.” However, you can watch for things like oral or genital warts. Not everyone who gets HPV will get sick according to the Centers for Disease Control. As a matter of fact 90% of those infected are virus free even after 2 years. Some people’s bodies will clear themselves of the disease all together, but there is no way of knowing whose body will clear and who will fall ill due to the disease.
What if you suspect you have HPV
If you find anything suspicious you will need to call your doctor immediately. Cauliflower looking warts should be especially concerning. Bleeding from the rectum, vagina or penis needs to be reported immediately, and yearly exams are highly recommended. Unfortunately, men have no exam that can detect the HPV virus. HPV is preventable. There are vaccines available, and practicing safe sex is always a good idea as well. Cervarix and Gardasil help females against cervical cancer while Gardasil also fights anal or penile cancer. Males from 11 until the age of 26 are the best candidates for the Gardasil vaccine. Also, keeping one partner that is being faithful will greatly reduce the chances of your getting the virus.
If you are diagnosed with the HPV Virus
If you already have the virus be responsible and don’t spread it. See your doctor, and get the treatments needed to get your life back to normal and on track. Responsibility and knowledge will be your biggest allies alongside your physician. You can overcome thins with diligence and the proper care. Good luck!