Submitted on behalf of NSO,
Jennifer Antigua, Janae Bailey, & Tamara Whitmire
What is HPV?
HPV or Human Papilloma Virus, is the most common sexually transmitted disease characterized by an abnormal Pap smear result (CDC, 2017). It can be associated with genital warts and eventually cervical cancers (CDC, 2017).
· There are as many as 150 different strands or genotypes of HPV (CDC, 2017).
· Most adults will be infected with at least one of those strands in their lifetime (CDC, 2017).
· High risk strands of HPV that affect the cervix include 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, and 52 which affect the cervix (CDC, 2017). These strands have a higher probability of causing cancer if left unmanaged (CDC, 2017).
How is HPV contracted and spread?
You can get HPV by engaging in vaginal, anal, or oral sex with a person who has the virus, even if the infected person has no symptoms (CDC, 2017). You can develop symptoms years after being infected which makes it difficult to know when someone was first infected (CDC, 2017).
What can I do to prevent contracting HPV?
The best method to prevent the development of HPV is through the administration of the human papilloma virus vaccines (CDC, 2017). The CDC recommends routine vaccination of boys and girls age 11 to 12 before become sexually active (CDC, 2017). Vaccinations are also recommended for females 13 through 26 years of age and males ages 13 through 21 years (Hinkle & Cheever, 2018). Other methods to prevent HPV include abstinence, the use of condoms, and being in a mutually monogamous relationship (CDC, 2017). However, HPC can be spread during skin-to-skin contact in areas that are not covered by condoms (CDC, 2017).
Can I be treated for HPV or the health problems associated with it?
There is no treatment for the HPV virus itself (CDC, 2017). In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems (CDC, 2017). However, when it does, there are treatments for the problems caused by HPV (CDC, 2017).
· Genital warts can be treated with prescription medications prescribed by your health care provider (CDC, 2017). Genital warts may resolve, stay the same, or grow in size or number if left untreated (CDC, 2017).
· Cervical precancerous cells can be treated and should be followed up with routine Pap tests (CDC, 2017).
· Other HPV related cancers are better treated when diagnosed and treated early (CDC, 2017).
Many people feel they will be stigmatized if they are open about being exposed to HPV. Remember you or your loved ones are not alone! Together we can spread awareness about HPV. learn more, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm or contact NSO@pccc.edu for more information.