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WhatTheHeckIsHPV?pt1

canwetalkqa
canwetalkqa Can We Talk: Sexual Health
What The Heck Is HPV ? pt 1

I remember hearing about HPV during undergrad and wondering what it was, I also remember all the commercials and nurse practitioners telling us to get shots. Hearing how HPV is, a disease, it's cancer, or  you could die. But what exactly is HPV and how does one get or prevent it?

So this is what I know about HPV:

It stands for Human papillomavirus and is one of the most common sexual transmitted diseases in the US. According to the CDC,  it's a group of more than 150 related viruses. Each HPV virus in this large group is given a number which is called its HPV type, with about 70 million Americans infected and there aren't definite symptoms that arise when you have the virus. 

What I don't understand: why don't we talk about HPV anymore? What happened to all those commercials, those warning signs, or people telling us to be careful. Why treat HPV as if its a trend? 

HPV is a disease that knows, no gender, race, ethnicity, or age and can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It affects all of us, anyone can get the disease, even if you have had sex with just one person (Not a scare tactic).  Most HPV infections go away by themselves and don't cause cancer. But abnormal cells can develop when high-risk types of HPV don't go away, but health problems such as genital warts and cervical cancers can develop because of the virus and can affect the mouth and throat via oral sex. 

Facts:

HPV infections can cause:

  • cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women;
  • cancers of the penis in men;
  • and cancers of the anus and back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (oropharynx) in women and men.

Like I said before, because the virus has no visible signs, many carriers are unaware that the virus is in them. It's advised that boys and girls as young as, 11 or 12 years should get vaccinated, latest for women is 26 and men 21.  Also, having regular check-ups and sharing your sexual history as well as asking for the HPV screening test is advised.  Preventative Measures:   The US vaccine series requires three shots given over six months, using protection i.e Latex condoms, dental dams, and talk to your health care provider about optional protective measures.  Every year, about 1700 women and around 9000 men are affected and though talking about sex and protection is a taboo, STI's like HPV is real and talking to your health care provider and asking questions about your sexual health  is another way to protect yourself and your body. 


Additional Resources: 

American Sexual Health Association: http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/hpv/

HPV Test: http://www.thehpvtest.com/

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5 comments

  • SusanMarie
    SusanMarie Broadcast Journalist, Writer, Poet, Spoken Word Poet, Author
    10mo ago

    This is important. Working in the medical field, I saw too much of this. Now, the pediatrician, in NYS, gives the parent the choice of having their child vaccinated [as young as 9 years old!] and this is a great idea.

    This is important. Working in the medical field, I saw too much of this. Now, the pediatrician, in NYS, gives the parent the choice of having their child vaccinated [as young as 9 years old!] and this is a great idea.

    • canwetalkqa
      canwetalkqa Can We Talk: Sexual Health
      10mo ago

      Agreed! Thank you for the information and thank you for commenting.

      Agreed! Thank you for the information and thank you for commenting.

  • Bethany Heinrich
    Bethany Heinrich Mogul Influencer
    10mo ago

    Such an unbelievably important post. Thank you so much for sharing this with the community. Health tips like this are vital and so appreciated!

    Such an unbelievably important post. Thank you so much for sharing this with the community. Health tips like this are vital and so appreciated!

    • canwetalkqa
      canwetalkqa Can We Talk: Sexual Health
      10mo ago

      Thank you for 1. Giving me the idea 2. For commenting

      Thank you for 1. Giving me the idea 2. For commenting

  • Olivia Facini
    Olivia Facini Community member
    10mo ago

    People don't realize how prevalent HPV is. Education removes the mystery and fear that often prevents people from researching and taking steps to prevent and treat.

    People don't realize how prevalent HPV is. Education removes the mystery and fear that often prevents people from researching and taking steps to prevent and treat.


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