Every year in the United States there are 14 million new HPV infections. This is a serious health issue, because this virus can cause cancer and also because people who are infected do not have any signs or symptoms of the virus. Secondly, there is no cure for the virus, so prevention is the key.
So what is HPV you may ask…..
HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus. This virus is a sexually transmitted disease, and transmitted from having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who is infected. Here’s the issue, HPV can be passed on even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms. Also, there is not really a way of getting tested for the virus either, for women, a pap smear test often times detects abnormal cells in the cervix which are likely caused by HPV.
But if the virus becomes cancer then there maybe some symptoms….
Penile Cancer ( Cancer of the penis)
Changes in thickness of the skin of your penis, or painful sore might show up on your penis.
Anal bleeding, pain, itching, or discharge or changes in bowel habits.
Changes in color/thickness of the skin of your vulva. There may be chronic pain, itching, or may be a lump.
Sore throat, ear pain that does not go away, constant coughing, pain or trouble swallowing or breathing, weight loss, or a lump or mass in your neck.
THE GOOD NEWS
There is a vaccine
- All boys & girls 11 or 12 years of age should get vaccinated
- Catch up vaccines are recommended for boys and men ages 21 and up and for girls and women through 26 years of age if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.
Make sure to engage in safe sex, whether it is oral sex, vaginal, anal, make sure you are protecting yourself at all times. For women, make sure to get an annual pap smear.
Please get vaccinated if you fall into the age category of getting vaccinated, prevention is key!