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Everything You Need to Know About the HPV Virus

  • Category: Pics  |
  • 19 Mar, 2020  |
  • Views: 996  |
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1 Everything You Need to Know About the HPV Virus

Did you know that the HPV virus is the most common sexually transmitted infection that people have? It's believed that around 14 million people get the infection annually. Most people don't even know they have it due to a lack of symptoms occurring. Nonetheless, it's essential to know about HPV, because in some cases, it can lead to a serious medical condition such as cancer. Here's everything you need to know about the HPV virus.

Symptoms of the HPV virus

HPV infections can be challenging to detect because there can often be no symptoms. In the cases where there are symptoms, warts will appear on the body. In particular, genital warts are a strong indication that a person may have HPV. They can vary in appearance in many different ways, such as being flat, round, pink, flesh-colored, and other variations. Genital warts will also grow in a variety of areas, including places like the cervix, scrotum, or thigh.
In addition, there’s no specific length of time for when they may appear. Some can even appear years after a person has had sex with someone infected. In general, the immune system can usually combat an HPV infection before warts appear. Beyond genital warts, HPV can cause common warts that appear on the hands, plantar warts that appear on the feet, and flat warts that appear on men’s beards or women’s thighs.

How is HPV contracted?

HPV can be contracted in a few different ways. The primary way most people contract it is through skin-to-skin sexual contact. The skin-to-skin contact is usually through genital areas touching or someone's mouth or throat touching the genital area. It doesn't require any penetration for it to be spread. Health officials believe most people who have sex get the HPV virus at some point in life. In addition to skin-to-skin contact, it can be contracted through touching a wart or touching something that has already touched a wart. Some of those most at risk of getting HPV are people who have sex for the first time at an early age, and those who have multiple partners.

How to get tested for HPV?

Most doctors may not see the need to routinely test for HPV if your records indicate you're healthy. Women, in particular, can have pap smears to see if there are changes to the cells in the cervix. If there are, a doctor may choose to test for HPV. It's also possible to get a DNA test to check for any high-risk type of HPV. There aren't any HPV tests that exist for men yet. Diagnosis is usually made through an inspection.
It's essential to get regular checkups to make sure there are no abnormalities of cells caused by HPV that can lead to cancer. Among the cancers that high-risk HPV can cause include anal, penile, and cervical. There are no tests to conclude a person has a high risk of HPV, but you can pay attention to signs that could potentially indicate a serious illness. Signs of anal cancer can include pain in the anal area or changes in bowel movements, and signs of throat cancer include constant coughing or trouble swallowing.

What should I do if I’ve been diagnosed?

Being diagnosed with an STI can come as a shock to some people. While it might be distressing, it’s helpful to know that many people have had HPV before. The most important thing you should do is discuss with your doctor about treatment options and ask any questions you may have. If you’re in a relationship, it’s important to share your diagnosis with your partner as well.

Does high-risk HPV always lead to cancer?

When treated, people can recover from high-risk HPV infections with no cancer caused. There are some situations that increase your risk of HPV causing cancer. Diseases that weaken your body's ability to fight infections can increase the possibility of serious health problems. Smoking may increase those possibilities as well. For women, because cervical cancer takes years to develop, any abnormal cells can be detected, and then treated before they become cancerous. It's recommended that women get pap smears every three years after the age of 21. After age 65, if there are three normal pap tests in a row, it's recommended that women can stop having pap smears then.

How to prevent HPV?

There are multiple options to help you avoid getting HPV. The first option you can take advantage of is getting the HPV vaccine if you haven’t. These can be taken to prevent genital warts and cervical cancer. It’s recommended by the CDC that children start getting the vaccine at ages 11 and 12. If a child is infected before receiving the vaccine, they’re at risk of it not being as effective when administered. Adults can choose to get vaccinated if they never received it during childhood.
In addition to vaccination, you should also avoid sex with anyone who has visible genital warts, or if you have genital warts. It’s a good habit to engage in safe sex practices. Practicing safe sex can help prevent the spread of the HPV virus. It’s important to note that condoms can’t fully protect you. Exposed areas around the genital, such as the inner thigh, will still be at risk of being infected through skin-to-skin contact.

Are HPV vaccines safe?

Clinical trials were conducted to test the use of HPV vaccines on over 30,000 females. The results proved that they were safe and effective for treatment. All vaccines that are licensed are always monitored by the FDA and the CDC.

Are there any side effects of HPV vaccines?

It has been found that most side effects of the HPV vaccine are mild and generally don't last long. Side effects people may experience include redness where the shot is given, nausea, dizziness, headache, fever, and muscle or joint pain. Always inform your doctor of any allergies before you or your child receives the shot.

Can HPV affect fertility?

The HPV vaccine has never been shown to cause any issues with fertility. There's a greater risk of having fertility problems with not getting the HPV vaccine due to being vulnerable to cancer. A woman getting HPV-related cancer would have to receive chemotherapy and other treatment that could potentially hinder their ability to have children. Additionally, if problems in the cervix are caused by pre-cancer, this increases the risk of pre-term delivery in pregnant women.

How long does HPV vaccine protect against HPV?

Most studies have shown HPV vaccines can protect a person for many years. People who were followed ten years after taking the HPV vaccine were still protected. There was also no indication that protection decreased over time.

Is there a treatment or cure for HPV?

Doctors have found no specific treatment or cure for HPV yet. There are treatments for the abnormal pre-cancerous cells caused by the HPV virus. These procedures include cryotherapy and loop electrosurgical excision procedure. The best way to combat HPV is to live a healthy life, practice safe sex, and regularly get checkups.
How do I discuss my HPV diagnosis with my partner?

It's helpful to be as informed about your HPV as possible to help ease your partner's concerns. They may have a lot of questions they might want to ask to understand HPV better. It's recommended that the partner with HPV answer all of their own questions about HPV first. You can also point your partner to various resources and invite them to your doctor's appointment as well. They can hear your doctor discuss your condition and also provide answers to them about their concerns. Your partner must be aware that having HPV doesn't mean there was unfaithfulness in the relationship. It's possible you could have received your HPV virus years before your current relationship.

Should my partner get tested?

Unlike other STI's, it's difficult to get a test that can diagnose HPV. As mentioned earlier, there's only a test to diagnose HPV in women. If your partner is female, they can get a pap smear to review any cell abnormalities that could be pre-cancerous. A male partner can get observed to see if there are any warts that would indicate they might have HPV.

How do I prevent my partner from getting an HPV infection?

Unfortunately, it’s difficult for doctors to answer this question. They’re unsure if HPV can be transmitted if there are no active symptoms such as abnormal cells or warts. They do conclude that healthy immune systems can diminish the HPV virus. People with genital HPV DNA have tested negative for it after a year in most cases. Doctors think that HPV isn't always active, and it's less likely for partners to transmit the infection the longer it has been that symptoms were last present. Condoms don't fully protect against HPV, and doctors say the only way to truly prevent it is through abstinence. Nonetheless, given sexual activity is an integral part of a close relationship, your doctor may be able to recommend other options that can make sex as safe as possible.

In many cases, people may never know they have HPV. If you suspect you may have an HPV virus, it's important to get tested. Once you know you do, you can start getting treatment to get rid of your symptoms and continue living life normally.


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