How to Get Human Papillomavirus and Stay Away from it

How to Get Human Papillomavirus and Stay Away from it

Human Papillomavirus or HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that goes away by itself but some types may cause genital warts or cancer. There are at least 200 types of human papillomavirus and nearly 40 kinds can infect your genital area such as your anus, penis, rectum, scrotum, vagina and vulva as well as mouth and throat. These kinds of HPV can be passed through sexual contact. Genital HPV infections are very common and most people who enjoy sex can get HPV at some point of time. Most people with HPV do not show any symptoms and so, they do not know they have been infected.

Mostly, the genital HPV infections are not harmful and they go away on their own. There are some types of HPV that can cause genital warts or cancer.

  • Two types of HPV are types 6 and 11 that may lead to genital warts in most cases. Yet, they are believed to be lower-risk HPV as they don’t cause cancer or other's health problems.
  • There are some kinds of HPV that may lead to cancer, though two of them in particular such as types 16 and 18 can cause cancer mostly. These are known as high-risk HPV. Cervical cancer is commonly linked to HPV but HPV can be the reason for cancer in your anus, penis, vulva, vagina, mouth and throat.

There is no remedy for HPV however, much can be done to keep HPV from getting a negative impact on your health. There are private HPV vaccines available to stay protected from getting certain kinds of HPV. Genital warts can be removed easily by your doctor. High-risk HPV can be treated before it turns into cancer and so, regular Pap tests are necessary. Though condoms and dental dams do not provide protection, they can lessen your chances of getting HPV.

How you can get HPV

HPV can spread easily due to sexual skin-to-skin contact with someone who already has it. You can get it when your cervix, penis, vulva, vagina or anus touches others mouth, throat or genitals at the time of intercourse. HPV can also spread if the penis does not enter the vagina.

Though HPV is a common STD, most people do not know they are suffering from it. Most people who have sex get HPV at some point of time and so, there is nothing to feel ashamed.

Symptoms of HPV

Most people with HPV do not find any symptoms or health problems. Sometimes HPV may lead to genital warts and some kinds can even lead to cancer.

High-Risk HPV Does Not Show Any Symptoms

Most people who have high-risk type of HPV do not show any symptoms until it occur due to serious health concerns. So, regular checkups are important. You can prevent cervical cancer in certain cases by detecting abnormal cell changes and if left untreated, they might develop into cancer.

A Pap test may help to detect these abnormal cells into the cervix. A Pap test does not test for cancer directly or HPV, but it can lead to abnormal cell changes that usually occur due to HPV. There isn’t any test for high-risk HPV in the anus, penis, throat or vulva and the HPV does not show any symptoms. If it becomes cancer, then there might be some symptoms such as:

  • Penile cancer – This is cancer of penis that might show some symptoms such as change in color, thickness of your penis skin, or painful sore on the penis.
  • Anal Cancer – This can lead to anal bleeding, itching, pain, discharge or changes in bowel habits.
  • Vulvar Cancer – This is cancer of vulvathat might show symptoms like changes in color or thickness of your vulva skin. This can be the reason for severe pain, itching or lumps.
  • Throat Cancer – This might lead to sore throat or ear pain that does not go away. Further, you may even suffer from coughing or trouble at the time of breathing or swallowing, weight loss or a lump in your neck.

Thus, if you develop any of these symptoms, it is advised to visit your doctor without delay.

Is it possible to get cancer with high-risk HPV?

High-risk HPV may cause your normal cells to become abnormal that can lead to cancer. The high-risk HPV often affects cells in the cervix, but it can even cause cancer in the anus, vagina, vulva, penis, mouth and throat.

The positive news is that most people can recover from these HPV infections without any health problems. Yet, some people might develop HPV infections, precancerous cell changes or cancer for a long time. If you have another disease, then this will make it difficult to fight against infections and cause cervical cancer. Besides, if you are addicting to smoking, then this will make HPV more likely to cause cervical cancer.  

There isn’t any remedy for HPV, but it usually requires many years for cancer to develop and abnormal cells in the cervix to detect and treat before they may turn cancerous. Make sure you go for your regular checkups along with HPV and Pap tests on time.

Difference between HPV and genital warts

Genital warts are unwanted growths on the skin of your anus, cervix, vagina, scrotum, penis and vulva. Most genital warts occur due to two kinds of HPV such as – types 6 and 11. These warts are soft and fleshy bumps that sometimes appear like small cauliflower. They do not cause much pain and can be treated as well as removed like the warts you get on your feet or hands.

As genital warts look like common skin issues, your doctor can diagnose them and treat accordingly. Fortunately, warts are not risky and do not cause cancer and hence, the types of HPV that cause genital warts have “low-risk.” However, they can cause discomfort and irritation and you can pass the HPV to others. If you have genital warts, it is necessary to get yourself checked immediately.

When to get tested for HPV

There is an HPV test for the cervix but not for genital areas. Since HPV is common and often goes away by itself, it is not necessary to test for it.

Know if you have HPV

Since HPV is a common infection that usually goes away by itself, most people do not even know they have HPV.

If you are suffering from HPV, it is due to an abnormal Pap test result. Pap tests, also known as Pap smears, are extremely important for detecting abnormal cells on your cervix that occur due to HPV. Pap tests can find cell changes that are caused by HPV though they do not detect HPV itself.

You will also come across a HPV test that helps to know some high-risk viruses directly, but it is used for certain situations only. Your doctor may recommend the HPV tests:

  • for women who are 25 and older than a Pap test
  • for women who are 30 to 65 years with a Pap test
  • as a follow-up for Pap test that detects abnormal cells or when Pap test results are not evident

Your doctor will tell about necessary tests you may need to undergo and how often you should get them.

If the HPV test result is positive, then this does not you are suffering from cancer. Rather, it means you have a kind of HPV that increases your risk of getting cancer in future. By knowing this, you should follow up with your doctor to assess your overall health condition. Most likely they’ll want to do tests more often, at least for a little while, to make sure you’re healthy.

There is no test available for detecting high-risk HPV in people and so, you need to get the private HPV vaccine in London, use condoms and go for routine checkups. Mostly, the infection goes away by itself without causing further problems. However, it is important to know even if you do not show any symptoms, you may still pass this HPV to your partner.

It is advised to practice safe sex by using condoms or dental dams at the time of oral, anal and vaginal sex. This will enable you to lessen the chances of getting HPV and enjoy sex with your partner.

How to get tested for HPV

You can get your Pap or HPV tests done at the doctor’s office or health care department.

Well-woman examination includes a Pap test or HPV test, as and when required. How often you need to get tested will depend on your age, medical history and the results of your last Pap or HPV tests. Your doctor will tell when you should test yourself and, and which tests will be appropriate for you.

The testing for other STDs is not a part of your regular checkup or gynecologist examination. You may ask your gynae expert for it so that they can suggest which tests to perform for your health.

How to treat HPV

Mostly, the HPV infections go away by itself. Though there isn’t any remedy for the virus, there are treatment options for the problems that HPV might cause.

Treatment for high-risk HPV

There is no treatment for HPV but if you are having high-risk HPV, then this could lead to abnormal cell causing cancer. If you have an abnormal Pap test result, then you may need to perform further tests or treatment such as:

  • Colposcopy - This is a procedure that will enable to look closely at the cervix and know if there are precancerous cells.
  • Cryotherapy - This kind of treatment freezes and removes precancerous cells from your cervix.
  • LEEPor Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure - This treatment helps to get rid of precancerous cells from the cervix with the help of electrical current.

How you can treat HPV

There is no treatment available for HPV, but there are several things to do for staying healthy. You can even prevent high-risk HPV types by taking vaccines  and the types that may lead to genital warts. Most of the time, your body will be able to fight against HPV before it causes serious problems and before you know you have this infection. In case of high-risk types of HPV that can lead to cancer, detecting abnormal cell changes with regular Pap tests or HPV tests is the most suitable way to avoid cervical cancer.

How to be sure you do not get or spread HPV

The best way to avoid getting any kind of STD is not to enjoy sex at all. However, if you want to have sex, it is important to get HPV vaccine or use condoms and dental dams to avoid further problems from HPV.

How to avoid HPV virus

The right to be sure you do not suffer from an STD like HPV is to avoid any kind of sexual contact with your partner. This will include anal, oral and vaginal sex and other genital contact.

Most people enjoy sex at some point of time in their lives. So, if you remain sexually active, there are certain things to do for lessening the chances of getting or spreading HPV:

  • Get your HPV vaccine.
  • Use condomsor dental dams every time you enjoy anal, oral or vaginal sex with your partner. Though condoms and dental dams are not much effective against HPV like other STDs such as HIV and chlamydia , safer sex may decrease the chances of suffering from HPV.

How you can prevent HPV

Unless you have a high-risk type genital warts or HPV, you will not know you are having HPV. The best way not to pass it to someone is by getting your HPV vaccine on time.

Here are some things to do for avoiding HPV:

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact by not enjoying sex.
  • Use condomsor dental dams every time you have had anal, oral or vaginal sex. Though condoms and dental dams are not very effective against HPV, having safer sex can lessen the chances of getting HPV.

About the HPV vaccine

The HPV vaccine protects you against certain kinds of HPV that may cause genital warts or cancer. Also called by its brand name Gardasil 9, the HPV vaccine can protect against:

  • HPV types 16 and 18 - these 2 types can lead to 80% cases for cervical cancer cases.
  • HPV types 6 and 11 - these cause nearly 90% cases for genital warts.
  • Another 5 types of HPV - these types are 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 that can cause cancer of the anus, cervix, vagina, penis, throat or vulva.

Who should get HPV vaccine?

Anyone under the age group of 9 to 45 years can get HPV vaccine to protect against genital warts or different kinds of HPV causing cancer. It is suggested that children get the vaccine at 11 or 12 years so that they are completely protected before getting sexually active. Talk to your doctor to know where to get HPV vaccine and how beneficial it can be for your health.

Do I need to perform HPV/Pap tests if I got the HPV vaccine?

Yes, Pap tests are an important way to know and avoid cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine won’t protect against all kinds of HPV that causes cancer. Thus, it is important to get HPV/Pap tests done to detect any cell changes that might cause cervical cancer.

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