It’s a fact,
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. Most people will get HPV at some point in their life. You do not need to have vaginal, oral, or anal sex to get HPV. Anyone who engages in sexual activity that involves genital contact with another person who has HPV can contract HPV.
HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact. Condoms can help prevent the spread of HPV but since HPV can infect parts of the genital area that a condom does not cover, HPV can still be transmitted even with correct condom use.
HPV usually has no symptoms so people do not know that they have it until it causes serious health problems, like genital warts or certain types of cancer.
At this time, the only routine screening for HPV is a cervical pap smear. Learn more here.
The HPV vaccine:
Safe and effective. The vaccine has been shown to have a close to 100% prevention rate for several strains that can cause genital warts or cervical, anal, vaginal, vulvar, penile, and certain throat cancers.
The vaccine is approved for females from ages 9 -26 and for males from ages 9- 21. Men who have sex with men and men who have compromised immune systems may get the vaccine up to age 26.
The vaccine is available for little to no cost if you have insurance but if you are uninsured, you may qualify for a vaccine assistance program.
The vaccine is given in three doses over six months but it is okay if you didn’t complete the series in three months. In this case, you do not need to start over and it’s not too late to complete the series.