Listen up! Have you heard of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)? Of course you have…HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. BTW, there are more than 40 different types of HPV that can infect the genital areas of MALES and females. The Gardasil vaccine prevents you from getting the most common types of HPV- 6, 11, 16, and 18- that lead to disease and cancer. HPV 16 and 18 account for 70% of ALL cervical cancers. Gardasil can be given to females and males ages 9-26 years old in 3 doses (Initially, 1-2 months after the first dose, 6 months after the first dose). A new study from Duke revealed that in blacks, the most common types of HPV were not 16 and 18, which means the Gardasil vaccine may not work as well on us. More studies need to be done to confirm these findings. So for now, STILL get vaccinated.
HPV is a huge problem. Approximately 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV and about 14 million people become newly infected each year.
90 percent of people infected with HPV will clear it from their bodies within 2 years. The 10 percent with chronic infection are at the greatest risk of developing disease and cancer. Currently, there is no cure for HPV, so PREVENTION is the KEY!
1. How is HPV transmitted?
HPV can be transmitted through skin-to-skin genital contact, sex- oral, vaginal, or anal. AND now, it can be transmitted through sharing sex toys. In pregnancy, there’s a small risk of passing HPV to your baby. Most people infected with HPV do not realize they are infected, or that they are passing HPV on to their partners. HPV can still be present, even if years have passed since you have been in contact with an infected person.
2. What diseases does HPV cause?
Most people with HPV will never develop serious health problems. However, chronic HPV infections can cause genital warts, warts in the throat, and cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus, and throat. Warts can develop within months of contact with a HPV infected partner, but cancer takes many years to develop.
3. How can you decrease your chances of getting HPV?
- Having only 1 partner
- Having a partner with no or few prior sexual partners
- Not having sex at all
- No naked dry humping
- Not sharing sex toys
- Consistent condom use during sex
- Getting vaccinated with the HPV vaccine-Gardasil or Cervarix.
Black women who want to be healthier, click here
Until next time…