What is HPV?
HPV (Human papillomavirus) is the virus that causes genital warts. HPV is now one of the most commonly transmitted sexually transmitted diseases.
How Do You Get HPV?
HPV can be transmitted through sexual contact including, oral, vaginal and sex. And over 50% of sexually active men and women are infected by it at some point in their lives.
People do not always get genital warts from HPV and therefore, oftentimes people infected with HPV do not know they have it. They can easily spread it to others unknowingly, and thus it’s important to get the vaccine.
Further Complications with HPV
- HPV may lead to cervical cancer in females, as well as cancer of the vulva, anus, vagina, throat, and mouth. Each year about 10,000 women in the U.S. get cervical cancer and over a third of those die from it.
- In males, HPV may lead to cancer in the penis, anus, mouth, and throat
Recommended Ages to Get the HPV Vaccine
This vaccine is administered 3 times over a 6-month period.
It does not protect people against HPV if they have already been exposed to it.
- Girls: 12-26
- Guys: 11-21
Protecting Yourself Against HPV
- Condoms can help, but they cannot completely prevent someone from getting HPV, as they can break or warts can be outside the area of the condom
- Not having sex is the only way to be completely safe about not getting HPV
Although there is no cure for HPV, the symptoms can be treated. The HPV vaccine can protect against 4 major types of HPV that lead to genital warts and cervical cancer.
Parents Discussing the Vaccine With Their Children
It is important when discussing this vaccine with children for them to know that the primary goal is to protect against cervical cancer. Furthermore, emphasize that this vaccine only protects against certain strains of HPV so they don’t have a false sense of security that they are immune to getting HPV.
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