Human Papillomavirus (HPV): The Symptoms and Preventions.
November 24, 2022
Human Papillomavirus or HPV is a common type of sexually transmissible infection (STI), which is contractable through sexual intercourse. HPV is also credited to be a primary cause of cervical cancer, and it is traced to cause other cancers in the vagina, anus, vulva, penis, neck, throat and human head.
In Nigeria, the annual recorded number of cervical cancer cases are 12,075 while 7,968 cases lead to deaths. Unfortunately, most sexually active men and women have already been exposed to HPV infection. There are over 100 different types of HPV but the low risk types cause no health danger. However, there are medically tested vaccines that can prevent HPV from being contracted.
HPV (types 6 & 11) are major causes of genital warts, but they are regarded as low-risk HPV. While HPV (types 16 & 18) are the major causes of HPV related cancers and are regarded as high-risk HPV. Medically, there is currently no cure for HPV but there is a vaccine that can prevent infection and help to keep you safe. Also, regular HPV screening can help detect infection early and manage/prevent complications.
What are the causes of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?
As mentioned earlier, HPV infection is transmitted through sexual intercourse including oral sex. It is passed through skin-to-skin contact and you can contract HPV even though your partner shows no symptoms.
Apart from sexually Transmitted HPV infections, a pregnant woman can transfer HPV to her baby during child birth; however this happens in rare cases. This makes the child to develop a respiratory issue called Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis, where the child has HPV related warts in their throat or airways.
What are the symptoms of Human Papillomavirus?
Most sexually active people have had common HPV at some point in their lives and it disappears after two years without any symptoms. While HPV has no major symptoms, it only shows other symptoms when it has caused another life threatening problem like cancer. For this reason, it is medically advisable to take regular HPV tests early enough or get the vaccine. You should speak to a doctor on the DRO Health app if you notice any growth around your genital area. Early detection and regular tests can help to prevent future complications.
What are the prevention methods to avoid contracting Human Papillomavirus?
• Get a HPV vaccine.
Getting HPV vaccinated protects you from any HPV related issues. However vaccination is not advised for adults older than 26 years. If you decide that you want to take the vaccine and you’re older than 26, you should speak to a doctor first to get a professional view. Vaccines work best for people between the ages of 9-25 years. You can book to get the HPV vaccine on the DRO Health app.
• Get screened for cervical cancer.
For women aged 30-65 years, regular cervical cancer screening tests can help to identify HPV infection early enough before it becomes a case of cancer. If you get an abnormal pap test result, you should speak to a doctor immediately to get advise on the next steps to take.
• Always stay safe and protected during sexual intercourse.
The best way to stay safe while having sex is to use a condom. Although condoms do not fully protect against HPV, because it can infect areas that are not covered by condom. However safe sexual practices, early screening and vaccination can protect one from HPV.
There are many types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), some go away on their own, while other types cause serious health challenges. The best way to avoid contracting a threatening type of HPV is to get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine serves as a preventive measure for every form of the virus. On the DRO Health app, you can book for the HPV vaccine or a cervical cancer screening test. Simply visit www.drohealth.com to download the app and get started.