Human Papillomavirus or HPV

Human Papillomavirus or HPV is the most widely spread STD in the world.  There are over forty total types of HPV.  This virus infects the the genital area of both men and women, it can also infect the mouth and throat region.

Human Papillomavirus can cause many health issues.  These include genital warts and certain types of cancers.  The virus is unpredictable and there is no certain way to tell if a person will have health issue or not.  In a large amount of cases the virus will go away on its own and will not cause any health problems.  The biggest problem with this disease as it is with all types of herpes viruses, is that most people do not even know they have the virus. hpv

HPV is the same as the herpes virus or HIV which is the virus that causes AIDS.  Both of these viruses can be passed on during sex.  The difference lies in the health problems each one gives you.

How Do I Get the Virus?

HPV is most often passed between people during sex.  This includes both vaginal and anal sex.  It can also be passed by having oral sex and genital to genital contact.   Same sex and straight partners can pass the disease and you can get and pass on more than one type of the virus.  

Most people who are infected do not know it and pass the virus because of this.  A person may have the virus for years and not know it, but will still be giving it others with sexual contact.   There have been times, though there are not many documented cases when a pregnant woman will give HPV to her baby during the delivery.

Potential Health Problems

Over 90 percent of the time HPV symptoms never develop and the infection just goes away.  But there will be the times when the virus stays and causes many different types of health problems, these include:

  • RRP or Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis.  A rare condition where warts grow in the throat.
  • Genital Warts
  • Cervical Cancer–cancer in a woman’s cervix.
  • Other various cancers which consist of cancer of the vulva, penis, anus, vagina.  Cancer in the back of the throat a the base of the tongue and tonsils.

What are the Symptoms 

Genital Warts are the main symptom that appears, they will appear as a little bump or a group of bumps in your genital area.  Your doctor can tell you if they are HPV or not.   They will show up within weeks or even up to a month after sexual contact.  If they are left untreated, they will either go away, stay or populate and get bigger.

Cervical Cancer should not cause any issues until it reaches an advanced stage.  That is why it is important that women get screened for cervical cancer to catch it before they become cancer.

RRP which is warts appearing in the throat can occur in both kids and adults.  The warts can block the airway making it hard for the person to breath and even give them a rough sounding voice.

Is there a way to Prevent HPV?

There are ways to stave off your chances of getting HPV.

There are vaccines for 11 and 12 year old children. They are safe and can protect both boys and girls against the most common types of HPV.  The shots are given in a six month period in three doses for the best protection.

Two vaccines are available to protect women from cervical cancer.  They help protect against vaginal warts, anal, vaginal and vulvar cancers.  They are good for 11 and 12 year olds and females from age 13 to 26.

For boys and men there is one vaccine that will protect against all cancer and warts.  Gardasil  is recommended for all 11 and 12 year olds and those 13- 26 who did not get the vaccine when they were younger.

If you are aware of the issue and still have sex, a condom with help reduce the risk of HPV.

Best ways to prevent cancer without taking vaccines include routine cancer screenings, avoid using tobacco and alcohol and using condoms all the time.

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