For every parent, their child’s health is the top-most priority. We do everything to make sure they have a healthy present and healthier future. On our last visit to our family doctor, we discussed HPV, as it is the cause of almost all cases of cervical cancer worldwide¹ and then he mentioned HPV education and prevention should begin in childhood.
Most of the HPV infections don’t have any visible symptoms so it is difficult to know if one is infected. My son will be a teenager in a few years, and even though he is yet to reach the phase where he might get infected with HPV, this is the right time to know what causes it and how to prevent it. As a mother, I want to ensure my child enters adulthood being unafraid and confident.
HPV is mostly sexually transmitted but our doctor suggests that protection against HPV should be taken at a young age.
So, if you are a parent, talk to a doctor for more information about HPV prevention including the HPV vaccine.
Continue reading further to know all about HPV, its risks and prevention.
What is HPV?
HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection.² HPV is a group of more than 100 types of HPV viruses that infect sexually active men and women.³ HPV can be high risk that can cause cancer, and low risk that is not cancerous.³ Around half of these infections are with a high-risk HPV type.³ Some HPV infections can lead to certain types of cancer.
Low risk HPV types can cause warts on various parts of the body, including genital warts.
Most HPV infections clear out on their own. However, if it remains in the body, in women it can cause growth of abnormal cells to begin in the cervix. If left undetected and untreated, these cells may develop into cervical cancer. Early-stage cervical cancer generally produces no signs or symptoms.³
Apart from cervical cancer, HPV can cause other cancers as well including cancer of the vulva and vagina in women. Some strains of HPV can also cause genital warts.⁴
Symptoms Of HPV.
Mostly HPV doesn’t have any visible symptoms, but the possible symptoms can be⁵
- Common Warts
- Plantar Warts
- Genital Warts (in teenagers or young adults)
- Weak immune system
- HPV can lead to cancer, if not treated for a long time.
HPV doesn’t show any symptoms in many patients, but when symptoms develop, they occur from 3 weeks to many years after contracting the infection. ⁶
How is HPV transmitted
- The virus is transferred primarily by skin-to-skin contact. ⁷
- HPV infection can be passed from one infected person to anther during vaginal, oral, or anal sexual activity. ⁷
- It can also spread through oral sex or deep kissing. ⁸
- HPV infection can occur if the virus enters your body, usually through a cut, abrasion, or small tear in your skin.
Prevention of HPV
- HPV with common warts is hard to prevent but avoid touching or picking the warts, so it won’t spread
- To prevent HPV with plantar warts, wear shoes or slippers in public areas
- To prevent HPV with genital warts, it’s advisable to use condoms
- HPV vaccine is the most effective way to prevent infections caused by Human Papillomavirus
- Regular screening helps in early diagnosis if a woman has been infected
For more information about HPV, its causes and prevention, checkout the website – https://bit.ly/Letsfighthpv Here you can read all about HPV and even talk with an experts if you have any queries or want to know everything in more detail.
80% sexually active men & women get infected with HPV at some points in their lifetime. 5
So it is important to think about prevention of such infections that can delevop into cancers for your children at an early stage.
Issued in public interest with MSD India
- Walboomers JM, Jacobs MV, Manos MM, et al. Human papillomavirus is a necessary
cause of invasive cervical cancer worldwide. J Pathol. 1999 Sep;189(1):12-19
- National Health Portal,
https://www.nhp.gov.in/disease/communicable-disease/human-papillomavirus-hpv-infection-and-cervical-cancer , accessed on 5 March 2016
- World Health Organisation. Factsheet. Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer,
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cervical-cancer , 3 March 2021
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm
Accessed on Oct 2020
- WebMd. What is HPV
https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/hpv-genital-warts/hpv-virus-information-about-human-papillomavirus , accessed on 3 March 2021
- Harvard Health Publishing,
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/hpv-transmission-during-oral-sex-a-growing-cause-of-mouth-and-throat-cancer201306046346#:~:text=Sexual%20contact%2C%20including%20oral%20sex,cancer%2C%20depending%20on%20your%20age , June 2013
- American cancer society
- Centers For Disease Control & Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.html assessed March 2022