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HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is a group of over 200 related viruses that can be spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Did you know? Sexually transmitted HPV types fall into two groups, low risk, and high risk. When it comes to low-risk, there will not be any major problem. But, some low-risk HPV can lead to warts, around the genitals, anus, mouth, or throat. You will also be shocked to know that high-risk HPVs can cause several types of cancer. Those who are sexually active may get infected with HPV within months to a few years of becoming sexually active. HPV can be seen in men and women and can invite HPV-caused cancers. But, your immune system usually controls HPV infections, so they don't cause cancer.
Cervical cancer is seen in a woman's cervix (which is the entrance to the uterus from the vagina). It is one of the most common types of cancer that women suffer from in India. This cancer can result in higher morbidity and mortality rates. Due to unawareness about it, many cases tend to go unreported. Are you aware of the causes? One of the potential causes of cervical cancer is HPV. There are changes in the cells owing to the HPV infection. If one fails to treat the infection at the right time then the cells become cancerous.
HPV can be transmitted between sexual partners. It can be passed via vaginal penile sex, vaginal oral sex, and even via sex toys. The infection passes easily between sexual partners. But, using protection measures like condoms can lower the chances of infections. Symptoms of HPV infection causing cancer: Are bleeding, pain, when it comes to cervical cancer.
HPV vaccination provides that much-needed protection against new HPV infections. Vaccination is prevention and does not help you to cure the infection once you have it. The HPV vaccine is not used to treat HPV infections or diseases caused by HPV, but it is used as a safeguarding measure against cancer. Do not get confused by the vaccination, and try to clear all your doubts with the doctor.
The vaccine can be taken by girls and boys, from age 9 to 25 yrs. It is important for males as well as females to get vaccinated because both men and women can get cancer. Vaccination can lower the risk of the spread of HPV that leads to cancer. The vaccine can also be taken by adults of age 27 and 45. The best time to get vaccinated would be prior to first sexual contact.
HPV screening: Cervical cancer is the only HPV-caused cancer for which FDA-approved screening tests are available. Screening for cervical cancer is an important part of routine health care for people who have a cervix. The Pap test is an Outpatient Clinic test that can allow the expert to note all the changes that can be caused by high-risk HPV.
(The article is contributed by Dr Veena Aurangabadwala, Gynaecologist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Chembur)
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