What is HPV?
- With over 40 types of HPV (the human papilloma virus.), it is not a secret as to why it would be so easily to transfer this infection making it the reason it is the most easily transferred STI among teen males and females.
- Many teens and young adults infected with HPV don’t ever show signs or symptoms of the infection, which is part of the reason it is so easy to transfer HPV because the person usually does not know they have it.
- It is important for sexually active teens to understand that sexual intercourse is not required to pass HPV from person to person. Any sort of genital to genital or genital to mouth contact with someone who is infected with HPV can spread the disease.
- HPV in women can cause genital warts as well as pre-cancers and cancers (cervical, vaginal and vulvar).
- It is rare for men to show outward signs of having HPV. However they can still contract genital warts when infected with HPV.
- In 90% of cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally within two years.
- One out of two sexually active teens females have contracted at least one type of the genital HPV infection.
- Throughout the course of their lives, about 75 to 89 percent of all males and females in the United States will contract one or more types of HPV.
- Each year, about 800 men become infected with HPV related penile cancer.
- Additionally, about 1100 men contract HPV related anal cancer each year.
- Like with other cases of STD statistics, males who have sex with other men are among the men who are more likely to contract HPV.
- Teen girls are the most likely to contract the infection and show symptoms, according to a report released by the CDC.
- Abstinence from any kind of sex is the only 100 percent way to prevent sexually active teens from contracting or spreading HPV infections.
- Latex condom use is another effective way to prevent spreading HPV, although it is not 100 percent effective. It is important for sexually active teens to remember that both males and females can spread the disease through any kind of genital contact.
- Because males are the least likely to demonstrate any sign or symptoms of an HPV infection, it can be easily transferred.
- Taking part in routine HPV screening and tests is one of the most effective methods to help prevent spreading the infection.
- Gardisil is the name of the only HPV vaccine that helps protect against 4 of the 40 various types of the HPV infection.
- Gardisil is geared toward protecting young women ages 9 to 26 against the two types of HPV that are the cause of about 75 percent of cases of cervical cancer. It also works against 90 percent of 2 more types of HPV that cause genital warts.
- The Gardisil vaccine also works In young men ages 9 to 26 to help protect against 90 percent of the cases of genital warts.
- The vaccine is 70 percent effective in protecting girls, teens and women ages 9 to 26 in preventing vaginal cancers. It is also 50 percent effective in protecting against vulvar cancer cases.
- Gardisil is not 100 percent effective however. It cannot protect protect teens and young adults against all of the types of HPV, which is why it is important for teens and young women and men to get check routinely for for HPV in addition to getting the vaccination.
The numbers continue to rise each year for the number of teens and young adults who are infected with HPV. To help cut down these numbers, safe sex, frequent HPV screening and vaccinations are some of the best measures sexually active teens can take to protect themselves from getting infected or spreading HPV.
sources: CDC.gov, kidshealth.org