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ALL ABOUT HPV VIRUS by Tim Millett
HPV is a virus. Its scientific name is Human Papillomavirus. Some forms of HPV cause the familiar hand warts, and some cause genital warts. Ironically the types that cause warts aren’t the problem. HPV in another form, however, a form which doesn’t cause warts, is a potentially serious health risk. It’s directly linked to cervical cancer, which causes a quarter of a million deaths every year. Now the good news – HPV treatment is available, and the condition can be controlled.
There are over 200 different forms of HPV. Interestingly, warts tend to specialize in particular areas of the body. Hand warts (HPV Types 1 and 2) won’t transfer to other areas of the body except for some reason the knees. Contact with surfaces is a common method of transmission. Some times of HPV are transmitted from non-porous surfaces like shower tiles.
40 types of HPV are sexually transmitted although HPV can be transmitted without actual intercourse. Genital HPV is most commonly spread by sexual contact with skin. Condoms do help prevent HPV transmission.
HPV is a common disease, and can be a dangerous one. The truly high risk forms don’t show symptoms, and it’s medically considered a significant health issue around the world.
This is a particularly difficult disease to identify. It’s discovered through testing, rather than symptoms, and there are no external indications of infection in the great majority of cases. Prevention, such as it is, is confined to safe sex practices.
The HPV Virus is a pretty strange disease:
- Anybody, male, female, straight or gay, can get HPV from a partner.
- In some cases the HPV may not develop for years after contact.
- People may not even be aware they have the infection unless diagnosed or signs of infection like warts appear.
- HPV can be passed on to unborn children.
- Contraceptives do not protect against HPV.
- The sexually transmitted varieties of HPV do not show symptoms.
- The only way to positively identify the dangerous forms is by testing.
Screening is the only reliable method of checking for the dangerous forms of HPV. Women between 21 and 65 are recommended to receive regular annual screenings.
The risk of escalation from HPV to cervical cancer is based on known links between the HPV virus infection and subsequent development of carcinomas. That’s why the disease is considered so dangerous. Pap smears are a reliable form of comprehensive testing, which is why they’re the preferred option for HPV evaluation.
If you know the risks, know the methods of transmission, and know how to take protective measures, you can help stop the spread of HPV. This is a community issue, affecting all of us. The only way to really deal with this very dangerous, hard to manage situation is a general best practice approach. All diseases can be controlled by effective prevention. Even HIV infections dropped dramatically after community wide prevention messages got through to the public.
Thanks for the great post, Tim! If you’d like to be considered as a guest blogger like Tim for The Passionista Playbook get in touch and send your love, sex, dating or lifestyle related post for consideration.