HPV or human Papillomavirus is a very different virus from HIV and herpes or HSV, very common, which has affected almost all sexually active men and women one time in their lives without being aware of it. There are over 100 strains of HPV, with some varieties that can develop health problems including cancers and genital warts. Vaccines are available to prevent these health problems from developing.
A person infected with HPV can transmit the virus through oral, vaginal, and anal sex. The most common infection happens during anal or vaginal sexual contact. The absence of signs and symptoms in an infected individual can still pass on the infection.
Even if you only have sex with one person, as long as you are sexually active, you are prone to get infected with HPV. Symptoms can sometimes develop after several years from an infection which makes it difficult to know the exact time and occasion when you first got exposed.
Most of the time health problems are not caused by HPV as it disappears on its own. It is only when it does not leave the system would it create health problems such as cancer and genital warts.
The genital area could be affected by groups of bumps or a single bump of genital warts. They can be cauliflower-shaped, big or small or flat or raised. By looking at the genital area, a medical practitioner can mostly diagnose warts.
HPV can be the cause of other cancers aside from cervical cancer such as cancer of the anus, vulva, penis, and vagina. It can also develop other types of cancer such as oropharyngeal cancer which includes the tonsils and the base of the tongue.
After infection to HPV, it can take years for cancer to develop. The strains of HPV that causes cancer are different from the strains that cause genital warts.
There is no way of knowing what kind of individuals infected with HPV will acquire health problems or cancer. Weakened immune systems particularly people infected with HIV/AIDS may not be able to ward off HPV and be likely candidates for serious health conditions.
There are several ways to avoid or lower the risk of acquiring HPV.
Submit to a vaccination. HPV vaccines are effective and safe to use. They will be able to protect men and women from developing diseases and cancers that HPV can cause when the vaccination is given to the right age groups. The vaccination comes in three doses covering a period of six months and once started, should be finished to get lifetime protection.
Pap tests should be one of the routine tests for women 21 to 65 years of age as prevention for cervical cancer.
Latex condoms used the right way every time there is sexual activity could lower the risks of acquiring HPV infection. Some genital areas cannot be covered by a male condom and the better option would be the use of a female condom as it covers a larger area.
Engage in a monogamous relationship or have a sexual relationship with only one person where you are also the only sex partner.