HPV, or Human papillomavirus, has been a topic of conversation since the vaccine that aimed to combat against four of the most cancerous strains of the virus, was developed in 2006. In 2014, it was approved by the FDA. Before the vaccine arrived, HPV was not really a topic of discussion, even when it likely should have been. Now that it is, there are some facts you should know about how you contract it, how many people contract it, and the side effects of the virus.
While we’ve tried to take control of our sexual health in many ways as a society, especially in the 21st century, we still have a long way to go when it comes to education and treatment. Luckily, there’s been progress made even in the last twenty years in order to become more open about sex, sexual health, and reproductive issues.
HPV remains to be a bit elusive as an STD. While many young people in the U.S. received the HPV vaccine, which aimed to prevent them from contracting cancerous cells that are a byproduct of the infection, which mainly affects women, there were still millions of people who were given an HPV diagnosis. According to statistics by the American Sexual Health Organization, there are more than three million new cases a year of HPV contraction in the U.S.
If you’d like to know more about what HPV is, how it’s treated, and what risk factors are involved once contracted, read these fast facts about one of the most prevalent STDs being spread in the U.S. If you are a man that thinks you might already have it, try std panel for men.
- HPV is spread through sexual contact, meaning unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also be spread from mother to child through pregnancy, labor, and nursing.
- HPV is incurable.
- Although incurable, genital warts, a side effect of HPV, can go away on their own. Some strains can also cycle through the body and cause no long-lasting damage to the reproductive organs.
- HPV still can last for years or for life.
- HPV is the most commonly transmitted STI.
- Many people who contract HPV don’t have any symptoms.
- Symptoms do include genital warts.
- According to the CDC, 79 million Americans are currently infected with the virus.
- HPV is most commonly spread through vaginal and anal sex.
- Anyone who is sexually active can contract HPV.
- Symptoms can develop years after an infection, making it difficult to determine which of your partners infected you.
- HPV can lead to cervical cancer in women.
- HPV can also cause other cancers to develop in the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, the back of the throat, and the tonsils.
- Different strains of HPV cause genital warts and cancer.
- Cancer developed from HPV can take years or even decades to appear.
- Condoms might not fully protect from HPV transmission, as it can spread to other parts of the body that are adjacent to the genitals.
- HPV vaccination is recommended at ages 11 or 12, all the way to age 26.