The human papillomavirus (HPV) has become one of the most talked about viruses in the modern age and this has made it difficult for people to differentiate the myths from the facts.
Skipping The HPV Vaccine Is Not A Big Deal
Every year, as much as 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer often caused by the HPV virus, and 4,000 women die of the disease annually. Three vaccines exist for HPV and effectively target and protect against some of the strains that cause cervical cancer.
Two of the vaccines also target the strains that cause genital warts. However, the vaccines are most effective if women get them before they’re sexually active and potentially exposed to HPV. The vaccine is recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls, and can be given as young as age 9.
Only Women Should Get Vaccinated For HPV
HPV is actually an infection that affects both men and women and causes cancer in both men and women. Women are vaccinated to protect them from cancer and men should be vaccinated to not only protect them from cancer but to also protect their partner from cancer.
If you vaccinate a man against HPV, then he is far less likely to transmit the virus to his sexual partner.
It’s Hard To Be Exposed To HPV
HPV is a common virus that almost all so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. Nearly everybody who has sex will likely be exposed to at least one and probably many different versions of the virus.
There Is Only One Type of HPV
There are several strains of HPV. Some types of the virus are completely benign and others that cause things like genital warts and still others that cause cancer. Strains 16, 18, 31, and 33 more commonly cause cancer than other strains.
Only Women Can Get Cancer From HPV
Both men and women can get cancer from HPV. The type of tissue HPV likes to cause cancer in is actually found in both the cervix and the anus.
Men can only get anal cancer but women can get both anal and cervical cancer from specific strains of the human papillomaviruses. Oesophageal cancer can also be caused by HPV in both sexes, since the virus can be transmitted through oral sex.
Once You Have HPV, You Have It Forever
Most of us are exposed to HPV infection and our immune system is able to clear it from the body. However, if you have a particularly virulent kind of HPV or your immune system is weakened, you are more likely to carry the disease longer and be at a higher risk for developing cancer.