What Is HPV?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide. In America, 79 million people, mostly in their teens and early twenties, are infected. HPV can be passed by any type of sex, regardless of the person is experiencing symptoms. Often symptoms don’t appear for years after the initial infection making the disease difficult to track. With over 14 million new cases each year, it’s more important than ever to speak with your doctor about preventive measures and treatment plans (CDC, 2019).
HPV & Cancer
In some cases, the body’s immune system can fight HPV on its own and rid the body of the disease. Other times the patient will develop genital warts or cancer. Genital warts are bumps (sometimes clusters) in the genital region that can be painful. Genital warts come in all shapes and sizes: raised, flat, small, large, and/or cauliflower-shaped (WHO). Based on the number of patients treated for genital warts, the World Health Organization estimates before the HPV vaccines, 340,000 to 360,000 people developed HPV-related genital warts each year. Realize that one in every 100 sexually active Americans is already positive for genital warts (WHO).
HPV is best known for causing cervical cancer. Read Oohvie’s blog for what you need to know about cervical cancer here. In addition to cervical cancer, HPV can also cause cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus, tongue, and tonsils. Often the types of HPV that cause genital warts are not the same as those that cause cancer. This is why annual screenings are essential to maintaining your health. But even with screenings, 12,000 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer, over 4,000 dying of the disease annually (CDC, 2019).
HPV is so common that almost every sexually active person will contract HPV at some point in their life if they don’t take the vaccine. About 14 million people become newly infected each year (WHO). Speak to your doctor about the three HPV vaccines that are currently available. All three protect against the types of HPV that are proven to cause 70% of cervical cancers. Some offer cross-protection against the less common types of HPV that cause genital warts (WHO).
The World Health Organization currently recommends that parents have children vaccinated between nine and fourteen years old. Anyone can be vaccinated, but it may not be as effective if you have already been exposed (CDC, 2019). Connect with a provider to get your vaccine today. Remember to schedule regular screenings even if you already have the HPV vaccine. Your Oohvie account already links to your HealthLynked account to allow you to easily share your medical information with the healthcare provider you choose. Make an appointment today for your annual screening.
“Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Cervical Cancer.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 11 Nov. 2020, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/human-papillomavirus-(hpv)-and-cervical-cancer.
“STD Facts – Human Papillomavirus (HPV).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Aug. 2019, www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm.