Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted viral infection. In fact, it’s the most common sexually transmitted disease. It’s been in the news as there have been movements to require teenage girls to have the HPV vaccinations. It also gets confused with HIV and HSV (herpes), but it’s different.
We provide HPV vaccinations at Columbus Women’s Care, so here’s the lowdown on the virus.
What is HPV?
There are more than 40 different kinds of HPV. Some of those 40 can infect the genitalia, mouth, and throats of men and women. Some of them can cause oral, cervical, and other types of cancer.
How is HPV spread?
You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. The virus can be passed to another person even if the infected person has no signs or symptoms.
Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV. You can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected. That’s all the more reason to hold a grudge against that old flame!
When is HPV dangerous?
In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and doesn’t cause any health issues. But when the virus doesn’t go away, it can lead to health concerns such as genital warts and cancer.
How can I be protected from getting HPV?
The best way to protect yourself is to have the team at Columbus Women’s Care vaccinate you. The HPV vaccine is safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control recommends 11 or 12 years olds get two doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV. If you (or your kids) are older than that males through age 21 can receive “catch-up” vaccines. For females that catch-up span can go through age 26.
HPV is incredibly prevalent. About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, with about 14 million people newly acquiring the virus each year. HPV is so common that most sexually active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.
So, let’s not add you or your kids to those numbers — get vaccinated for HPV at Columbus Women’s Care. Call us at (614) 755-4200 to make an appointment.