The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) around. There exists over 100 different types of HPV, some cause genital warts, and some even cause cancer. Here are some things you need to know about its symptoms, treatments and prevention.
At One Time or Another, Most Sexually Active Adults will have HPV
Recent studies show that 27% of sexually active females between the ages of 14 and 59 test positive for HPV, and 1% of sexually active men in the United States have genital warts at any given time.
Most Men with HPV have no Symptoms
Chances are good that most men who have HPV don’t even know it. This is because in most cases, men have no symptoms associated with the virus. Lucky for them; not so lucky for their female companions who go unwarned about their condition.
HPV Can Lead to Cervical Cancer
Women with HPV develop abnormal cells in their cervical walls that have been linked with cervical cancer. For some reason, these abnormal cells like to become cancerous. Regular PAP smears will catch the abnormal cells early and prevent them from becoming malignant.
Cyrotherapy is the Common Treatment for Abnormal Cells
Should your PAP smear identify abnormal cells, the common treatment prescribed is cryotherapy. Basically, the cells are frozen off. Of course, they can’t target just the abnormal cells; they simply freeze the entire surface of the cervix which causes the cells to slough off. In most cases, the abnormal cells are replaced with healthy cells. “Freezing” could easily be interchanged with “burning,” as the result is similar, as is the discomfort.
There is a Vaccine Available
In 2006 a vaccine named Gardasil became available which protects individuals from the four most dangerous strains of HPV. Talk to your doctor about the vaccination if you are or plan to become sexually active.