In the recent years, we have heard a lot about HPV, or Human Papillomavirus, which can cause certain types of Cervical Cancer. You may have heard about it at school, or from your doctor. HPV is a common virus that is spread with sexual contact. It is most common among people in their 20’s but can also affect teens. The CDC reports that approximately 14 million people can become infected with HPV every year.
What are the dangers if HPV is left untreated? When this virus is left untreated, it can cause Cervical, Vulvar and Vaginal Cancer. It can also cause genital warts, as well as Anal Cancer. This isn’t limited to just women. Men can be affected with Penile Cancer from HPV. The virus can also be passed orally and cause mouth cancer. Because HPV can be present without symptoms, sometimes you are infected before you are even aware that anything is really wrong.
Your best options for protection again HPV, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases, include getting yearly checkups with your gynecologist, getting the HPV vaccination shots, and never having unprotected intercourse.
What age should I be to get vaccinated? The usual age of girls and boys to be vaccinated for HPV is around age 12. By getting the vaccine, your body can produce immunities to the virus and offer protection. While the best prevention for STDs is abstinence, using protection and getting the HPV vaccine series are also preventative measures you can take.
How many shots do I have to take? The shots are given as a set of three. When you go to your doctor, they will schedule your series of shots within six months. If you don’t have insurance, there are free programs that will help you get the shots that you need to take care of yourself. Go to: www.cdc.gov/Features/VFCprogram/ to learn more about it.
What are the risks of the shot? The shot has been widely studied and is now widely available. It has passed all safety concerns from the CDC and FDA. It is even recommended to receive this shot at the same time as other vaccines that you may be due for.
Taking care of yourself through protected sexual intercourse, vaccination, and regular checkups with your gynecologist can extend your life and enhance the quality of your life! Never take your health for granted, and always be aware of the risks associated with sexual intercourse. At Options Medical Clinic, our hope is for you to have the best future possible!
Call us with questions at 770.924.0864 – www.hopectr.com.