Monday, 19 September 2022

HPV prevention for adolescents and adults: here's what you must not miss


I firmly believe that there is nothing as important as our sound health. Particularly the last few years have been a real eye-opener for me. I have learned the hard way that a slight delay in getting timely medical intervention may cause inconvenience in our lives. Thus, it is very important to remain vigilant towards our bodies at all times. Now, I swear by preventive health rather than a prolonged battle later, which God forbid may cost us or our loved ones our lives.


Fortunately, we are born in an era where medical science has advanced to a level where we can prevent many severe diseases by taking timely preventive measures. All we need is awareness about the same. The best way to do so is to always stay in touch with our doctors for thorough check-ups and preventive care recommendations for ourselves as well as our families. 


I also try to do my bit to spread the knowledge by exhaustively penning down information that would boost awareness and preventive measures for diseases we may not be aware of. 


Today I want to talk to you about HPV prevention for adolescents and adults. From the perspective of a mom, I strongly feel our teenage kids must be equipped with immense confidence to step into adulthood without the slightest fear. Only we can gift that freedom to them. I recently visited my gynaecologist and she told me about the HPV and its prevention. I was quite unaware about HPV until then, so this visit was an eyeopener. You will know about it in a while as you advance in the post but first,


What is HPV?


The term HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus. It is known to be one of the most common sexually transmitted infections of the reproductive tract. It is important to know that almost all men and women contract HPV within months to a few years of becoming sexually active. 


Yes, the statistics prove that around eighty percent of human beings who engage in sexual activity may contract HPV in their lifetime. Thus, it is advisable to think about the protection against the same.


Types of HPVs


We must also know that there are over 100 different kinds of HPV, and not all of them cause severe health problems.


HPV can be majorly categorized as 


  • High-risk HPV, i.e., the virus that is cancer-causing 

  • Low-risk HPV i.e., the virus that is not cancer-causing. 


In several cases, HPV infections resolve on their own without any notable symptoms. 


However, some kinds of HPV may cause problems like genital warts


Some other kinds of HPV can also cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus, head of the penis, and several other cancer. 


 Normally HPV clears on its own, but if left untreated, these cells may develop into cervical cancer. It is extremely disheartening that every 9 mins, 1 woman loses her battle to Cervical Cancer in India. Early-stage cervical cancer generally produces no signs or symptoms and that is baffling.  



How does HPV spread?


HPV is known to spread by intimate skin-to-skin contact in the genital area during sexual intercourse including oral sex. It can also be spread through kissing with tongue. This is termed oral HPV. 

HPV can also be contracted by coming in contact with an infected surface.


One is at a higher risk of developing oral HPV if

  • He/she has more than one sexual partner

  • he/she uses tobacco or alcohol

  • he/she has a weakened immune system

The biggest risk for developing oral HPV arises from having oral sex or mouth-to-mouth contact with someone who has an HPV infection. 


HPV is preventable 


Usage of condoms and dental dams during sexual activity can help prevent the spread of HPV to a small extent.

Additionally, regular screenings can help in early detection of HPV and related illnesses.

The good news is that 80% HPV can be prevented through vaccination and our boys and girls can be safeguarded against the several potential health hazards of HPV. 



Sadly, many of us parents are not aware of the vaccine and may miss securing our young ones stepping into adulthood from HPV, hence I decided to pen down on this topic. 


If you are a parent of young girls and boys, please get in touch with your doctor to know more about the right age and other details about the vaccination against HPV.  


There is nothing more reassuring than the prevention of HPV and related cancers and diseases in our young kids who are ready to spread their wings and fly high.


This is something we can’t afford to miss as their responsible parents. Even adults must contemplate and discuss getting the vaccine with trusted healthcare experts.


You can check more about it here: https://knowmorehpv.com/, and talk to the expert on the site, or consult your doctor. 


Issued in public interest by MSD India


This information is for awareness only. Please consult your doctor.









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