Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

Sexually transmitted diseases have been on the rise for quite some time. One that has recently become famous is the genital HPV infection.The genital HPV infection is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by human papillomavirus. Human papillomavirus is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 100 different strains or types, according to cdc.gov.

According to revolutionhealth.com, Human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cervical cancers in women through sexual contact. It is strongly recommended to seek the vaccine to prevent an infection and lower chances of having cancer. Testing positive for HPV means that there is an increased percentage that a woman might have precancerous cervical cell changes. This infection can be prevented with a three-shot series of vaccinations.

Not all HPV infections cause cervical cancers, as explained by Debbie Saslow, Ph.D., director of breast and gynecologic cancer for the American Cancer Society.

“About fifteen (out of more than six hundred strains of HPV) are considered high-risk and can cause cervical cancer,” Saslow said.

The vaccine used to prevent HPV is Gardasil, which is almost 100 percent effective to protect women from the four main high risk causes of HPV that causes 70 percent of cervical cancers. It does not protect from all cancers caused by HPV.

Gardasil protects against conditions caused by HPV such as cervical cancer, precancerous cervical lesions, vaginal lesions, vulvar lesions and genital warts. The vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration.

The vaccine includes a three-shot series, and the vaccination lasts up to five years. The first dose is injected when a health care provider approves of the produce. The second dose is two months after the first dose. The final dose is six months after the second dose.

It is important to get the vaccination when recommended for the immune system to process it. Vaccines are available for women ages nine to 26 years of age. It has been strongly recommended for college-aged women to receive a vaccination before the women are sexually active.

The vaccine cannot protect someone from the HPV types that one has already been exposed to. However, some people may be able to receive the vaccine even after they are infected to prevent further infections. Most people are not infected with all four types of HPV that the vaccine prevents. According to Merck and Co., at least 50 percent of sexually active people will have HPV at some point.

Cervical cancer is a serious life-threatening disease that occurs when cells in the lining of the cervix change from normal lesions to precancerous lesions. Genital warts are also caused by certain types of HPV. The warts are on the inside or outside of the genitals. Symptoms of the warts include irritation, itching and pink or red cauliflower-like raised areas, which might resemble ordinary skin warts. Symptoms usual become visible two months after first contact of being with a partner that carries HPV. Symptoms may appear in a time period of one to eight months.

Men and women can contract HPV and pass it on without knowing, even years after they had sex with an infected partner. Men are carriers of the virus, but can also be infected with genital warts and cancer. There is no cure or treatments or HPV although for most men it usually goes away on its own.

HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can cause many types of cervical cancer. However, it can be prevented with a vaccine. The vaccination is simply a three-shot series which will prevent from the four main high risk types of HPV that cause cervical cancers and genital warts. HPV is not curable, but it might go away on its own. Regardless, it is a good vaccination for all women to receive for a virus that causes cancer.

Rae Dunbar is a first-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at RD655287@wcupa.edu.

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