The Truth About HPV

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By Rachela Forcellese

I think it’s safe to say that HPV is subjectively one of the most confusing and commonly misunderstood STDs. First of all, it seems to be fairly new in the mix, and while it’s always smart to use all kinds of physical protection like condoms and birth control, it seems it’s also pretty crucial to be knowledgeable about this virus.

How common is HPV?

HPV is actually the most common STI out there and most people will get it at some point in their lives. Luckily, in the majority of cases, HPV will go away with time. So, if you end up getting it, don’t sweat it. See a doctor but know that chances are, it will go away.

Can men get HPV?

Of course men can get HPV and they often appear symptomless. Unfortunately, men cannot get tested for HPV at the moment.

Is there some kind of vaccine?

Yes. There is a vaccine for HPV for both men and women. It is recommended that you get the vaccine before you are sexually active, but you can get the vaccine anytime between the ages of 9 and 26 years old. Since men cannot be tested, it’s crucial that they get the vaccine in order to prevent the virus from spreading. It’s a series of three specifically timed out shots and some insurances do cover the cost.

Should I still get regular paps if I have the vaccine?

Yes! You should always get a regular annual pap smear. You can still get HPV even if you are vaccinated because it does not prevent from all different types of HPV. Always be smart and stay on top of doctor’s visits. Pap smears detect cell change, which tends to happen in HPV.

Can HPV cause cancer?

Yes, some forms of HPV can cause cancer but it is uncommon. If HPV goes away and is treated properly you have very little to worry about. But HPV can cause cervical cancer and genital warts if it does not go away in time. This is why regular and proper medical treatment is crucial.

Overall, HPV is not as scary of a monster as everyone seems to make it. After speaking to my gynecologist personally, she assured me that HPV goes away within most cases and the proper protocol is to just get regular pap smears in order to keep an eye on it. Safe sex and condoms are excellent ways to prevent HPV, but knowledge is the strongest preventative care.


Rachela is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via pexels}

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