Women in today’s world have infinite opportunities, and not only are we getting them, but we are also scaling at them, leading to equality and economic empowerment. However, while the sky is the limit for us, we cannot deny that at the same time we also have to face certain challenges. These are related to stress management, a healthy work-life balance, and prioritizing their health. Especially sexual wellness and awareness about sexually transmitted infections. One of which is HPV. In this post, we will talk about HPV and its prevention.
What is HPV?
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It spreads through intimate skin to skin contact during any kind of sexual activity.
How Common is HPV?
This fact may sound surprising, but most sexually active people are infected with HPV within months to a few years of becoming sexually active. 2 It infects around 660 million people worldwide. 8
How can you know if you have been infected by HPV?
Often, an HPV infection shows no symptoms, and within a few years, it clears itself. As a result, many people don’t even know they have contracted it.
The precancerous cell changes caused by a persistent HPV infection at the cervix rarely cause symptoms, which is why regular cervical cancer screening is essential.
What are the risks of HPV Infection?
HPV infections can be classified into low-risk and high-risk types.
High risk HPV can result in vulvar, vaginal, anal and cervial cancers in women. Most cases of cervical cancer (more than 95%) are due to the human papillomavirus (HPV). 9
Cervical cancer is the second most common and frequently occurring cancer in Indian women.
The disease caused by low-risk HPV infection are warts. The kind of warts you get will depend on the type of HPV you have.
- Genital warts – These are either flat spots or raised bumps. In women, they usually grow on the vulva, but can also appear on the anus, cervix, or vagina. Men get them on the penis, scrotum, or anus.
- Common warts – These rough bumps typically appear on the hands and fingers.
- Plantar warts – Plantar warts are hard, grainy, painful bumps that affect the bottom of your feet.
- Flat warts – These are slightly raised spots with a flat top. You can get them anywhere, but they usually appear on the face and legs.
Can HPV Be Treated?
There is no treatment for the virus itself. There is, however, a preventive vaccine for HPV. Your doctor can provide you with more information about it. Also, there are treatments for the diseases caused by HPV e.g. Genital warts, Cervical Precancer, and other HPV-related cancers, but why let it reach that stage when you can prevent it at the infection stage itself. 2
The ways to be protected from HPV are,
Safe sex practices, like using condoms during intercourse and dental dams during oral sex
Regular screenings to catch an infection in the early stages so that it does not progress to something as dangerous as cervical cancer
Getting vaccinated at an early age. Talk to your doctor to know more about the HPV vaccine.
As mentioned before, juggling so many responsibilities, personally and professionally, we women often tend to lose track of our health. So be sure to talk to your doctor and get screened regularly.
To learn more about HPV infection and prevention, visit knowmorehpv.com and talk to an expert.
Issued in public interest with MSD India.
- 1. National Health Portal Natioal Health Portal, https://www.nhp.gov.in/disease/communicabledisease/human-papillomavirus-hpvinfectionandcervical-
cancer#:~:text=HPV%20is%20one%20of%20the,is%20due%20to%20cervical%20cancer 2016 accessed on 5 March
- 2. Centers for disease control and prevention https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5912a1.htm 2022
3 National Cancer Institute, https://www.cancer.gov/aboutcancer/causesprevention/risk/infectious-agents/hpv-and-cancer OCT 2021
4 FOGSI’s Update in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Vol.2. New Delhi. Evangel Publishing. 2022. Chapter 33. HPV Vaccination-An Update.p.166, Accessed on 11 March 2022
5 WebMD https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/hpv-genital-warts/hpv-virus-information-about-human-papillomavirus#1 Accessed on 3 March 2021
6 Harvard health publishing,https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/hpv-transmissionduringoralsex-a-growing-cause-of-mout h-and-throat- cancer-201306046346#:~:text=Sexual%20contact%2C%20including%20oral%20sex,cancer%2 C%20depending%20on
%20your%20age, June 2013
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HPV and cancer. Basic information
https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/basic_info/index.htm Accessed on 7 July 2020.
- Report of the consultation on human papillomavirus vaccines: World Health Organization, Geneva, April 2005. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/69150/WHO_IVB_05.16.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Accessed on 14 Oct, 2022
- World Health Organization, Fact Sheet cervical cancer, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cervical-cancer, accessed on 14 Oct, 2022
ABOUT THE AUTHOR : NISTHA SARAF
MBA is my qualification and Fashion is my passion. I embarked on this beautiful blogging journey to share my fashion space with everyone out there. Follow me on INSTAGRAM, TWITTER and FACEBOOK
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