The Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV) is the most common STD. There are more than 75 million cases in the US. There are more than 200 types of HPV, broken down into two categories. Low risk HPV can cause genital warts. High risk HPV can cause different cancers.
HPV is spread through anal, oral or vaginal sex and skin to skin contact. Thankfully, most of these infections will go away on their own within a couple years.
Some HPV infections can cause cancer. In women, cervix, vulva and vaginal cancer. In men, penis cancer. In both men and women, throat and anal cancer.
Usually, a high risk HPV has no symptoms. You won’t find out that you were exposed until many years later when your cells have changed and possibly turned to cancer.
HPV is ridiculously common, around 80% of people will get it in their lifetime, some aware and others not. The main reason it has spread like wildfire is due to people not knowing that they even have it before they have already spread it to others.
Some schools have begun to require students to receive the HPV vaccine before starting seventh grade. If you get it prior to age 15, you will need two doses. If you receive the first HPV vaccine after age 15, you’ll need a total of 3 doses. You need to go back for the second dose between six months and a year after receiving the first.
The HPV vaccine provides long lasting protection for your child against HPV cancers. All vaccines go through extensive testing prior to being approved by the FDA. Medical facilities have been giving the HPV vaccines for over 10 years. After close monitoring and research, it is proven to be safe and effective.
There are possible side effects to any vaccine or drug. Side effects that have been associated with the HPV vaccine are extremely mild and go away rather quickly. These have included: fever, redness at the site, nausea, dizziness, headache, fatigue and joint pain.
Fainting is not a side effect of the vaccine, it is caused by the vaccination process. Fainting is usually triggered by pain and anxiety. Let the nurse know if you have had fainting in the past caused by an injection. You will need to lie down while you get the vaccination to prevent falling.
Knowing your sex partner and how many other partners they have had, along with limiting your number of partners can help lower your risk of getting HPV. With HPV being so common, you put yourself at risk every time another partner gets involved.
Condoms can help with the prevention of HPV. However, since it is spread by skin to skin contact, condoms do not cover every part of the skin.
Everyone knows about condoms and how they can prevent the spread of diseases. Maybe not everyone is knowledgeable about all the diseases that can be transmitted through oral sex. These are: herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis, HIV, HPV and chlamydia.
Of course, the best way to not get STD’s by oral sex is to not perform it. However, if you choose to, please use a dental dam. They are simply a thin square material that goes between one person’s mouth and the sexual part of their partner. They cost between $2-$3 and are not reusable. However, if you can’t find a dental dam, simply use non-microwavable plastic wrap with flavored lube. Either way, you have protection.