HPV guide for everyone with a cervix.
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Surely, you’ve heard these letters many times. They are related to something super scary, and we clearly know it’s something terrible, but we never fully understand what it really is and its consequences. Don’t worry. We’re going to tell you more about the human papillomavirus, also known as HPV.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Usually, it’s harmless and goes away by itself, but some types can lead to cancer or genital warts.
The most common STD
There are more than 200 types of human papilloma 😱. About 40 types can infect the genital area: vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum, anus, penis, scrotum, and even your mouth and throat. Genital HPV infections are widespread and highly contagious. They’re spread during sexual intercourse or skin-to-skin contact of the genital areas.
Other types of HPV can cause common warts in hands and feet, but these aren’t sexually transmitted.
Believe it or not, HPV infections are very common. In fact, anyone who’s sexually active can get them, even if you’ve only had sex with one person. Most people who carry the virus don’t have any symptoms and feel totally fine, so they may never know they were infected, hence the ease of contagion.
Most genital HPV infections cause no harm and can go away on their own. But some others can lead to genital warts and even certain types of cancer.
Unfortunately, there’s still no cure for HPV 😥, but there are several actions that can be taken to prevent any adverse health consequences. For example, vaccines 💉 that protect you from getting certain types of HPV, genital warts can be removed by a doctor, and high-risk viruses can be easily treated before they turn into cancer. This is why a yearly gynecological check-up is so important.
How is it transmitted?
HPV can be easily transmitted through sexual contact with someone who has it. The virus can be transmitted whenever your vulva, vagina, cervix, penis or anus touches the genitals, mouth, or throat of someone that has HPV. In fact, it can be spread even if there’s no fluid involved or if there was no penetration.
HPV is the most common STD and most of the time it’s nothing serious, actually, a lot of people don’t even know they have it. Using a condom can reduce the risk of infection, but the virus can still infect areas not covered by the condom, so you may not be fully protected from the virus.
We recommend that you visit your doctor every year and have a Pap smear as part of the check-up. If you notice anything strange in your body, go to your doctor as soon as possible.