Did you know that the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) have over 30 strains that target the genitals such as the vagina, vulva, penis, and scrotum? Among these are strains that can cause cervical cancer, a common type of cancer that affects thousands of women. Here’s what you need to know about HPV, its prevention, and treatment.
What is HPV?
Human papilloma virus is a common type of virus that targets different parts of the human body. In many cases, the genitals are affected by the infection. In fact, HPV is the most common type of sexually transmitted infection (STI), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Approximately 79 million American teens and young adults are affected by it. While there are a number of visible symptoms, many cases of infection go unnoticed. The sad reality is that most people are unaware that they have HPV and that it can lead to serious diseases such as cancer.
HPV can be acquired through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person. With or without symptoms of the virus, an infected person can still pass HPV to their sex partner. It’s also important to know that symptoms may manifest years after a sexual encounter with an infected person.
HPV and Cervical Cancer
Certain strains of the virus can affect the cells of the cervix, leading to cervical dysplasia. When this condition is not treated, it can escalate to a more problematic condition – cervical cancer. While HPV is the most common cause of this cancer type, it doesn’t mean that a woman with HPV or cervical dysplasia will automatically get the cancer later on.
HPV comes in different types and symptoms. While there is no treatment for the virus itself, there are a number of treatments for the symptoms. In the case of genital warts, there are different prescription medications applied to remove them. Other cases call for a surgery. Regular Pap tests and sexual health screenings can help provide early diagnosis of cancer. Medical intervention is important to prevent cancer from developing.
Fortunately, there is an HPV vaccine developed to ward off this virus infection. CDC recommends immunization at the age of 11 to 12 years, to lower the odds of developing cervical and other types of cancers in the future. While medical services that provide HPV vaccine in Hong Kong suggest immunization early in life, older adults can still receive vaccines for the virus.
Now that you have a basic understanding of HPV and its threat to your health, it’s easier to see the importance of prevention. Get vaccinated today from a reputable provider of immunization services near you.