HPV: 15 Facts You Didn’t Know About Human Papillomavirus

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nature.com

HPV, or the human papillomavirus is a group of viruses which consists of over 100 different strains. It’s one of the most common STDs in the world. There’s a lot to be informed about when it comes to this topic, so here are some facts about it.

Number Fifteen: Not All HPV Can Cause Cancer

Although the virus can lead to anal, cervical, or vulvar cancers, not all strains include these risks. In fact, only 30% of HPV types are sexually transmitted.

Number Fourteen: You’re at Risk Even With Protected Sex

Condoms lower your risk of getting the virus, but it does not completely eliminate risk. If there’s any skin to skin contact in a sexual situation, you can become infected.

Number Thirteen: Men Cannot Be Screened For It

Pap tests allow HPV to be diagnosed in females. However, no FDA-approved screenings exist for males.

Number Twelve: No Treatment Options Exist Yet

Doctors and other healthcare providers are able to treat lesions and genital warts that may result from the virus. There is no treatment available for the disease itself, though, which will hopefully change soon.

Number Eleven: Most People Don’t Have Symptoms

It’s possible to have this virus and never know it, as most people who get it will never exhibit symptoms. In fact, it’s possible to have HPV and never develop health issues at all.

Number Ten: Even if You Get a Vaccine, You Still Need Checkups

A lot of people think that once they get vaccinated for this virus, they’re in the clear. Unfortunately, that is not the case. You still need to get pap smears to screen for HPV since the vaccines only cover a couple of high-risk strains of the disease.

Number Nine: Your Immune System Usually Gets Rid of It

This is good news for most sufferers. In 90% of cases of infection, the person’s natural immunity will be able to fight the infection off within only a couple of years.

Number Eight: Even if You Don’t Have Symptoms, You’re Contagious

If you’ve been infected with the virus but don’t observe any symptoms, you can still spread the virus to sexual partners. This can happen regardless of whether you’ve ever seen symptoms in yourself.

Number Seven: Genital Warts are the Most Easily Recognizable Symptom of HPV

Since there are so many different types of the virus, it can be hard to tell what to look for. Genital warts appear if you have contracted a particular type of HPV and the virus is active within your body.

Number Six: Infections Without Warts Are Typically Associated With Cancer

A lot of people contract this disease and never get genital warts. The ones that do not have warts as a symptom are associated most commonly with cancerous changes in the cervical area, which means getting diagnosed is of utmost importance.

Number Five: Staggering Numbers

About half of men and women who have been sexually active in their lives will get an HPV infection at some point. By the age of 50, up to 80% of women will have acquired one strain of the virus.

Number Four: The Second Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths

Each year in the United States, 10,000 women will get cancer of the cervix, and almost 4,000 of them will die as a result. This is the second leading cause of death related to cancer among women in the world.

Number Three: The Vaccine Only Works Before Infection

It doesn’t help to get vaccinated after you’ve already become sexually active. It also doesn’t work if you’ve already had the virus although it may decrease your risk of contracting separate strains.

Number Two: Typically, It Does Not Affect a Developing Fetus

Mothers-to-be who have this virus may be concerned about their unborn baby. However, there is typically little risk of the disease harming the child.

Number One: Early Sexual Activity Increases Risk

If you become sexually active before the age of 18, you are at a higher risk of contracting HPV. Hopefully, you found our list informative and learned some things from it. Thanks for reading!

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