The most prevalent sexually transmitted illness (STI) in the US is the human papillomavirus (HPV). Some of the health impacts that HPV produces can be avoided with HPV vaccines. Basic concerns about HPV are addressed Genital warts treatment in this information sheet.
What is HPV?
The most prevalent STD is HPV. Infections with HPV affected 43 million individuals in 2018, many of whom were in their late teens and early 20s. There are numerous varieties of HPV. Some kinds, such as genital warts and tumours, can lead to health issues. However, there are immunisations that can prevent these medical issues from occurring. HIV and HSV are not the same viruses as HPV (herpes).
How is HPV spread?
By engaging in vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse with a carrier of the virus, you can contract HPV. The two types of intercourse that it is transmitted during most frequently. Additionally, during intercourse, it spreads through intimate skin-to-skin contact. Even if they show no indications or symptoms, an HPV-positive individual can still transmit the infection to another person.
Even if you have only had intercourse with one individual, if you are sexually active, you can contract HPV. Additionally, you may experience signs years after having intercourse with a person who is infected. Knowing when you first received it is difficult as a result.
Does HPV cause health problems?
90% of the time, HPV disappears on its own within two years without causing any health issues. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health issues like genital sores and tumours.
A tiny bump or cluster of bumps in the genital region is the typical appearance of genital warts. They can be big or tiny, elevated or flat, or cauliflower-shaped. Usually, a doctor can identify warts by peering at the vaginal region.
Does HPV cause cancer?
The malignancies of the vulva, vagina, penis, and anus can all be brought on by HPV in addition to cervical cancer. In addition, it may result in pharynx cancer (called oropharyngeal cancer). The tonsils and root of the mouth may be examples of this.
After a person contracts HPV, cancer frequently takes years or even decades to form. Different kinds of HPV can cause genital warts and malignancy.
It is impossible to predict who will experience cancer or other health issues as a result of HPV.
Individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those living with HIV, may be less able to combat HPV. They might also be more susceptible to HPV-related health issues.
How can I avoid HPV and the health problems it can cause?
There are several things you can do to lessen your risk of contracting HPV.
Obtain a vaccine. The HPV immunisation is both secure and reliable. When administered during the suggested age ranges, it can offer protection against illnesses (including malignancies) brought on by HPV. (See below, “Who should get immunised?”)
Get a cervical cancer screening. Cervical cancer can be prevented in women between the ages of 21 and 65 through routine monitoring.
If you engage in physical activity:
Always use contraceptives properly when having intercourse. This may lessen your risk of contracting HPV. However, HPV can spread to places that a contraceptive does not protect. Consequently, contraceptives may not completely guard against contracting HPV; and
Be in a committed celibate partnership, or limit your sexual activity to that person.
Who should get the HPV vaccine?
Boys and females in preteens who are 11 or 12 years old (or can start at age 9 years).
Everyone who has not received a vaccination up until the age of 26.
Vaccinations are not advised for anyone over the age of 26. However, after discussing their risk for new HPV infections and the potential advantages of immunisation with their healthcare practitioner, some people aged 27 to 45 who have not yet received the HPV vaccine may choose to do so. In this age group, HPV immunisation offers less protection. Although not exactly all of the HPV types that the vaccine is designed to prevent, the majority of sexually active people have already been exposed to HPV.
How do I know if I have HPV?
A person’s “HPV condition” cannot be determined through a test. In addition, there is no authorised HPV test to detect the virus in the throat or tongue.
Cervical cancer can be screened for with HPV screenings. These tests are only used by medical professionals to screen ladies who are 30 years of age and higher. Men, teenagers, and women under the age of 30 should not be screened with HPV tests.
Most HPV carriers are unaware of their illness. They never experience any signs or health issues as a result:
When they develop genital lesions, some individuals learn they have HPV. When they receive an unexpected Pap test result, women may learn they have HPV (during cervical cancer screening). Others might not learn until after they’ve
How common is HPV and health problems that develop from HPV?
According to the CDC, there were 43 million HPV cases in 2018. There were 13 million additional cases in that same year. If they don’t get vaccinated against HPV, almost every sexually active individual will contract it at some time.
Among the health issues caused by HPV are vaginal sores and cervical cancer:
Genital warts: Before HPV vaccines, 340,000 to 360,000 individuals annually were impacted by genital warts brought on by HPV. In the United States, one in 100 sexually active people currently has vaginal warts.
Nearly 12,000 American women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Even with screening and therapy, cervical cancer still kills more than 4,000 women annually.
People in the United States can develop additional diseases and malignancies brought on by HPV. About 19,400 women and 12,100 males are diagnosed with cancer each year as a result of HPV.
These numbers only look at the percentage of individuals who sought care for genital warts:
The real amount of individuals who develop genital warts may be lower than this.
I’m pregnant. Will having HPV affect my pregnancy?
HPV infection during pregnancy increases the risk of developing vaginal lesions or cervix abnormal cell alterations. Regular monitoring for cervical cancer can aid in identifying aberrant cell changes. Even when you are pregnant, you should undergo regular cervical cancer monitoring.
Is there treatment for HPV or health problems that develop from HPV?
The infection itself has no known cure. The health issues that HPV can bring can be treated, though:
With medical attention from your doctor or the use of prescribed medication, genital warts can disappear. Genital warts can disappear, remain the same, or increase in size or quantity if left unchecked.
Treatment for cervical precancer is possible:
Ladies who receive regular Pap exams and follow up as necessary can identify issues before cancer manifests. Always choose prevention over therapy. To learn more, go to cancer.org.
When detected and treated early, other HPV-related diseases are also easier to cure. To learn more, go to cancer.org.